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AUSTRALIAN JEWISH COMMUNAL RESPONSE TO KOSOVO CRISIS

Media Release - 11th April 1999

"If I am only for myself, who am I ?" Hillel

How Can We Help?

Jews not only oppose the brutal abuse of minorities but Jewish values and history compel us to act to ameliorate the tragedy of such action. As the influx of refugees strains the resources of relief organisations close to the Kosovo conflict Australia's Jewish community is working together with Israeli and Australian aid initiatives to facilitate and co-ordinate fundraising efforts.

Both the U.I.A., (United Israel Appeal) to which the majority of Australian Jews subscribe, and Keshet, an Australian/Jewish, humanitarian initiative, will ensure that donations are used as effectively as possible.

Mr Peter Wertheim, President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, in a press release last week, not only roundly condemned expulsion of ethnic Albanians from the Kosovo district but drew attention to the way in which Australians can contribute to the Jewish Agency's relief fund.

He said, "The fact that in 1999 over 300,000 innocent civilians are being forced to abandon the land of their birth and their livelihoods for no reason at all except their ethnic identity is an indictment of humanity", he said. "It is sad that the perpetrators are, for the most part, ordinary Serbs whose hearts and minds have been so poisoned by ethnic hatred that they have become transformed into murderers and the destroyers of innocent lives. Jewish history has taught us all too well that ethnic hatred is not only a blight upon the human soul, but also a socially destructive force without parallel. No-one will derive any joy from the fact that now some of the Serbs themselves are becoming victims as a result of the NATO bombing campaign."

"I know that there are many Jews within our community who wish to do something constructive to alleviate the suffering of the victims and a donation can be made through the United Israel Appeal earmarked "For Jewish Agency operations in Kosovo". The money will be used for all refugees, not just for the Jewish community in Kosovo.

Donations can be made by credit card over the phone (+61-2-93614273)

or

by delivering or posting a cheque to
UIA,
3rd floor,
146 Darlinghurst Road,
Darlinghurst 2010."

"Keshet", the Australian Jewish Humanitarian Relief Trust, has, over the past 4 years supported humanitarian projects in Rwanda, Papua New Guinea as well as Melbourne Homeless Youth and Aboriginal Educational Programmes. In announcing Keshet's YUGOSLAVIAN REFUGEE APPEAL its president, Mr Ric Benjamin, stressed that such action is in accordance with "tsedakka", the Jewish ethic which teaches us that as Jews we should reach out to anyone who is in need.

By supporting this appeal you will help Keshet (the trustee for the Australian Jewish Humanitarian Relief Trust) let the world know that the Jews of Australia understand the plight of the displaced person and their need for help.

The funds collected through this appeal will be provided to CARE Australia to be used for non-sectarian purposes in refugee programmes based in Yugoslavia, Albania and Macedonia. Money donated to the Kosovo region will go directly to assist refugees without making any political judgement.

"Through the activities of Keshet, Care Australia recognises the contribution of the Australian Jewish community to emergency relief efforts around the world" Charles Tapp, Chief Executive, Care Australia.

To make a tax deductible donation of over $2.00,
print this page, fill in your details below and mail a cheque to

Keshet
9A Gordon Street
Elsternwick, 3185

or

make a credit card donation to Keshet on fax: 03 9533 0066

For more information : Ric Benjamin rlbenj@bigpond.com

IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED THAT YOU EMAIL CREDIT CARD INFORMATION.

Shalom

Geraldine Jones
President JOIN Inc

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KESHET
9A Gordon Street
Elsternwick, 3185
Fax: 03 9533 0066

I/We enclose a donation of $ made out to Keshet,
acting as trustee for the Australian Jewish Humanitarian Relief Trust,
or please charge my:

VISA or Mastercard

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Keshet Ltd A.C.N 065 814 271

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