Two Years On: Amigour Ashkelon Opens to Provide Dignified Living

08 November 2022

In November 2020, UIA Australia held a Giving Day using Charidy’s online platform. $2.4 million was raised by 250 volunteers in 24 hours, which at the time, broke Charidy's record for raising the highest amount of money and highest number of donors (over 2,500) for a Jewish organisation in Australia.

Funds raised supported the construction of a new Amigour Home in Ashkelon, southern Israel, providing a home for Holocaust survivors and vulnerable elderly. We are extremely proud to see this vision become a reality. The Ashkelon location is one of the 57 sheltered housing facilities operated by Amigour, Israel’s leading operator of public and sheltered housing for the elderly. Today, over 7,500 disadvantaged seniors across the country enjoy affordable housing and independent living.

The situation is particularly severe for Holocaust survivors and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, who lack financial resources and an adequate network of family and friends. Following the horrors these people endured, they arrived in Israel and were finally, possibly for the first time in their lives, able to live without fear. There are approximately 180,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel - 1 in 3 live below the poverty line. 

Overlooking the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres south of Tel Aviv and just 13 kilometres north of the Gaza Strip, Ashkelon is the largest Amigour public social housing facility in Israel.  

The premises consists of three residential towers - each with 20 floors, with a total of 471 apartments. Each floor has two emergency staircases and every apartment has a ‘safe room’. 

In addition to the residential towers is the social club, funded by Australian donors, which is conveniently located in the centre of the complex. Residents can enjoy a variety of programs and classes. They participate in Hebrew and English language classes, exercise classes, lectures on health and nutrition, handicrafts workshops, choral groups, computer classes and more - all of which provide intellectual and cultural stimulation along with social interaction. Trips around Israel, visits to museums and the theatre and holiday celebrations offer the opportunity for personal enrichment. Dedicated on-site staff includes social workers, diversional therapists and caregivers to help the residents and ensures that all their needs are met.

The Israeli Government matched funds raised by UIA from donors in Australia.  This emphasises the strong partnership Keren Hayesod-UIA has with the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel, working together to support Israel’s national priorities.

A donor recognition wall has been erected to acknowledge the generosity of UIA Australia’s donors. 
UIA Australia CEO Yair Miller OAM said, “An undertaking of this scale by UIA Australia reinforces the vital role we play in the global UIA family. We once again thank all of the matchers, donors, leadership, professional staff and volunteers for their role in bringing this project to life. Keren Hayesod-UIA supporters can take comfort and be very proud in knowing that Amigour residents feel secure in their twilight years.”