Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Solidarity in Action: The Impact of U.S. Groups in Israel During Crisis

Icon May 21, 2024
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

In the wake of the conflict that began on October 7th, a profound sense of duty and solidarity has motivated numerous Jewish communities from the United States to travel to Israel. Their mission is clear: to offer support, bear witness to events, and provide hands-on assistance. At the heart of these efforts is an operation managed by Gordon Tours, which has become a pivotal point for hosting these solidarity groups and organizing their activities throughout their time in Israel.

"Bring Them Home" symbol in the Israeli sky

Journeys of Solidarity and Understanding

Under the management of the Gordon Tours operations team, these groups undertake a packed schedule. Their journey typically begins with meetings with victims and firsthand accounts of the events. An illustrative example of these meaningful encounters occurred recently when a group from Memphis, Shoham’s twin U.S. city, visited. They met Mia Shem, a resident of Shoham who was kidnapped by Hamas and lived to tell her story. The importance of experiencing such powerful stories in person and directly from survivors cannot be overstated.

An empty seat at Hostages Square / Visiting Magen David Adom – First responders on 10/7

Volunteering and Learning

Our solidarity groups also engage in practical volunteer work. One of our recent groups visited and assisted local teams at Israeli blood banks, and meetings with emergency response teams like Ichud-Hatzalah, who play a crucial lifesaving role during this conflict. Meetings with influencers and journalists offer additional perspectives as they share their insights and experiences of the war, further enriching our visitors’ understanding.

A typical itinerary might also include a trip to the southern part of the country to visit sites of significant importance to the conflict. During a recent group visit to Re’im, the location of the NOVA party massacre, our group met with firsthand responders from the Zakah organization. These visits are not just educational; they are a sobering reminder of the stark realities of the situation in the region.

Packing goods for those in need

From Witnessing to Helping

From our perspective, perhaps what is most remarkable about these groups is their commitment to volunteering. They spend days working alongside locals in agriculture, particularly in areas ravaged by the conflict, aiding in everything from avocado farming to assisting with drip irrigation systems. Their hands-on experience extends beyond the fields; they visit wounded soldiers and evacuees, offering gifts, support, and companionship, turning what are planned as brief visits into extended, heartfelt, unforgettable interactions.

Visiting the sites of the 10/7 attack.

Bridging Understanding Across Continents

These intensive visits serve a dual purpose. Not only do they provide tangible help where it’s most needed, but they also equip the volunteers with knowledge and experiences to take back to the U.S. This firsthand understanding enables them to articulate the realities of the situation far more effectively to those back home, fostering a greater understanding of the complexities of the conflict. Our solidarity visits are much more than just a gesture of support—they are an integral part of the healing and rebuilding process and a testament to the power of the global community and empathy in times of crisis.

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