Day One + Two

Yesterday I arrived in Israel. I was greeted by a rocket barrage on the way from the airport. My 85-year-old father and I had to stop the car and lay on the road. This certainly set the tone, and later that evening, we heard sounds of blasts from Iron Dome interceptions (which was much better than the alternative).

Today, amid the many meetings, we stopped by a gathering of the families of those held hostage. When you stand there for a moment and think about what each of them must be feeling, your stomach turns, and when you grasp that there are over 200 citizens, elderly, women, and children at the mercy of savages, it becomes tough to even inhale.

Families of Israelis held captive by Hamas distribute posters in Tel Aviv.

Posters with pictures of Israelis held captive and missing posted outside the Ministry of Defense offices in Tel Aviv.

Now, with a sharp turn towards action. The many meetings over the last 24 hours surfaced the following themes:

  • The immediate need is vast and urgent.
  • While it is not in our scope, there will be a medium and long term to this that will require extensive support.
  • We identified a lot of initiatives on the ground. Our approach to collaborate with them, learn from their experience, and coordinate the deployment of resources. We met groups who are focused on the actual logistical infrastructure (all volunteers) that we plan to leverage.

Setting up operations.

We have officially become a bigger team. The following have joined our effort:

  • The F2 Venture Capital GP, Jonny Saacks, Barak Rabinowitz, and Maor Fridman
  • F2 CFO (former Wix CFO) Nurit Benjamini, overseeing the financial controls of the operation
  • Oren Dobronsky, Shlomit Kapach and Rachely Dobronsky from ClearGiving
  • Sacha Roytman, CEO, Combat Antisemitism Movement
  • Rakefet Russak Aminoach from Team8, forever CEO of the Leumi Group
  • Avner Mendelson, Vice Chairman of Valley Bank

Identifying needs and providing help.

1. We spoke to municipality and welfare representatives from the three most impacted larger cities in the south. These are the locations where we will collaborate with welfare representatives who are familiar with the affected families. Our goal is to provide grocery cards and, if necessary, coordinate with another organization for grocery deliveries.

  • Sderot - 29 dead, 70 wounded, 70 homes took direct hits from rockets. Out of 36,000 residents, only 5,000 are currently left in the city, mostly not by choice but due to hardship. Sderot is currently a closed militarized area. Supermarkets are open only a few hours a day. Lots of damage throughout the city. Even if people have food stamps, there is very little supply in the city.
  • Ofakim - the town has taken a lot of casualties with 48 deceased (43 already laid to rest) and 1 still missing or kidnapped. Almost 50 residences were damaged and 6 destroyed. There are lots of trauma victims.
  • Ashkelon - this city took the majority of the rocket hits so there are a lot of homes destroyed, businesses are all closed, they are dealing with real wartime reality, and they are leaning mostly on donations. As of now, there are 19 civilians and 5 soldiers dead, 6 missing, and 2 held hostage.

2. We had further conversations with the group of 24 retired Major Generals who are each working with a heavily impacted township. Most residents are now evacuated and housed in hotels around the country. Their homes, if still standing, are in what is now a military zone. The ‘Secretary’ of each township is working on defining the list of needs for each family, which differs from family to family. We intend to support these families as best we can, mainly with food, computers, toys for kids, etc.

3. We visited and had long discussions with an impressive volunteering operation started by several tech leaders who pivoted their teams to takes calls for help with anything and everything. They are not deploying funds but rather providing logistical solutions to get essentials to those in need. They identified real resource needs, and we see specific opportunities to provide support.In the coming days we will identify and vet more hero groups. These operations were all started during the outset of the war, primarily by adapting businesses, social groups, and other entities. The operational setup is truly inspiring. While we are at war, and there is a lot of pain around, the overwhelming spirit is that of resolve to help, determination, and heroism — you can witness an entire nation standing shoulder to shoulder.

A daily briefing at the High Tech Command war room at the Fiverr offices in Tel Aviv.

Accepting support.

We made quick progress in identifying needs and we plan to begin deploying funds by Friday. From our learnings, we are going to make daily deployments given the urgency of the needs.

By tomorrow we will have a specific list of the most urgent needs to deploy, which I will share in my next note. With that, I want to make the call now for your contributions.The entire team will be ever-grateful for your support

Our goal is to raise $20,000,000.

We WILL do a lot of good together in this challenging time!


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