Ensure Akko's Proud Jewish Future "We'll Never Flee in the Face of Terror"

The Jewish community in the northern coastal town of Akko has faced a horrific wave of terror. "Our presence here is as important as ever".

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ישיבת עכו
ישיבת עכו
צילום: באדיבות המצלם

Amidst the most recent violence that continues to sweep across Israel, the Jewish community in the northern coastal town of Akko has faced a horrific wave of terror.

And while the stories have largely disappeared from the headlines, the trauma remains part of our lives.

After decades of building a strong and proud Jewish community in one of Israel’s most beautiful and culturally and historically rich towns, our Jewish families are in a state of constant fear – afraid to walk outside at night and unsure if a quick trip to the supermarket will cost us our lives.

On one of the early evenings of the Akko riots, Elad Barzilai, a beloved local teacher, set out to ensure that his students were home and weren’t exposed to the violence. A gang of Arab youth ambushed his car and pulled him to the ground. He was horrifically lynched, beaten to the brink of death. The last few weeks have been spent in critical condition as we hope and pray for his full recovery.

Support this historic project and help ensure that in the face of terror, the Jewish community of Akko is here to stay

The tragedy of these and other violent events is not simply the terror they have injected within the community, but also how it’s shattered any hope of real safety and tranquility that had defined life in Akko.

But despite the fear, we know that our presence here is as important as ever. In the wake of these events, we know there are those who argue that the concept of “mixed cities” is impossible in today’s day and age – that Arabs and Jews cannot live together and perhaps we should just pick up and leave.

We believe just the opposite. We came to live here specifically because we know that Jewish communities all-across the Israeli map need to be strengthened. We were not ignorant to the fact that there would be challenges and we knew that riots had engulfed our beloved city too many times in the past.

ישיבת עכו
צילום: באדיבות המצלם

Support this historic project and help ensure that in the face of terror, the Jewish community of Akko is here to stay

But if that past has taught us anything, it’s that Jews cannot simply flee in the face of terror.

We will strengthen our community, we will work that much harder to ensure our safety and we will intensify our resolve that we are here to stay.

As part of that effort, our families – and in particular our children- know that we will need to contend with legitimate fears and concerns – and lasting traumas. Not unlike our brothers and sisters forced to live under the threat of terror in the South, Akko is now on the front lines in this battle.

To respond to that reality, through an initiative of the Yeshivat Hesder Akko, we are developing the Akko Emotional Resilience Center (Merkaz Chosen.) Employing a network of therapeutic and support services and staffed by experienced mental health and Trauma specialists, this Center will help ensure that we can continue to live here - and thrive here.

In so doing, we can promise the people of Israel – and indeed the Jewish people worldwide- that we will never allow terror to deter us in building stronger, safer and prouder Jewish communities.

The Yeshiva Hesder Akko opened twenty years ago with a vision to strengthen the proud Jewish identity of the local community in Akko. Students learning in the yeshiva volunteer in a variety of social,cultural and educational projects throughout the city. The yeshiva operates a tourism hub, a family center and an initiative promoting local economic development. The yeshiva is now developing the Resilience Center (Merkaz Chosen) that will provide mental-health and therapeutic responses for Akko residents who face daily fear for their personal safety and the very future of their city.

Support this historic project and help ensure that in the face of terror, the Jewish community of Akko is here to stay.

Support this historic project and help ensure that in the face of terror, the Jewish community of Akko is here to stay



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