Since its inception on September 11, 2001, the Jerusalem-based Malki Foundation (in Hebrew: Keren Malki) has been providing practical and efficient programs that empower families from every part of Israeli society to provide home care for a special-needs child
A note to the Malki Foundation’s friends and supporters
October 8, 2023
From its inception, the work of the Malki Foundation has been to help ease the burden that rests on the shoulders of a specific population: families in Israel raising a child with extreme special needs. They number in the thousands and they are among the most under-resourced people in this country.
As most of us realize, burdens like theirs are not distributed equally. But for a significant number of the families, it’s a challenge made even harsher when, often for socio-economic reasons, they live far from Israel’s main centers.
Now we’re in a war that began explosively yesterday and no one can say when it will end.
From our office in Jerusalem this morning, realizing how close some of them living in Israel’s periphery communities are to the currently-active battlefields, we started reaching out. We have been texting and calling families who in some cases have gotten Malki Foundation’s support for years. They are people and stories we know well. I felt we had to get some sense of what their needs are - specifically now - and what we can do to help.
More than a dozen of the children with severe disabilities that are in our programs live in what is today the combat zone. Four of our therapists do too.
The effort to make contact has been stressful and is ongoing. But as I write this, we have managed to touch base with all of them and thankfully all are physically fine. As for trauma and shock, only time will tell.
One of our speech therapists is a resident of Kfar Aza, a kibbutz village located between Netivot and Sderot and just 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the Gaza border. It’s in the news here today for the worst of reasons: it was taken over by Hamas terrorists yesterday and hostages were taken. It’s an unfolding story of horror.
It took hours to reach our therapist. When I got through, she responded: "The IDF has evacuated us and we are on the way to Elat. What we survived is a miracle. May we all know better, quieter days."
Netiv HaAsara is a moshav of about 900 residents that sits practically on the Gaza border. It too was invaded by Hamas terrorists yesterday. The family of an eight-year-old child with severe disabilities and which is supported by one of Malki Foundation’s programs lives there. They were reluctant to share much detail but thanked us for staying in touch and for our prayers. I was left pondering what the family must have endured until the IDF rescued them.
Our work has always been about conveying to the family that we stand with them. We do practical things, of course, mostly focused on vital equipment and essential therapies that, for reasons hard to comprehend, they find hard or impossible to get via Government of Israel channels.
Beyond that, it’s important that we let them know someone is there to help, to support, even to advise. That in fighting for their child they are not entirely alone.
May we and they all be blessed from Above to quickly see better and more peaceful times.
Ely Cohen Director of Programs The Malki Foundation Jerusalem