TEL AVIV (Dec. 15)
Schoolchildren throughout Israel have begun collecting sweets to be distributed to the children of Somalia, in a campaign organized by the Education Ministry, the League of Local Authorities and peace activist Abie Nathan.
Nissim Krupsky, mayor of Rishon le-Zion and coordinator of the operation, said the children would begin bringing sweets to their schools, from where they will be delivered to a collection point in Tel Aviv. There, they will be supplemented by donations from local candy factories.
Nathan, who has been raising funds and emergency supplies for Somalia famine relief and setting up a refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border, has undertaken to fly the sweets to Somalia and personally ensure that they are delivered to starving children “to bring a smile to their sad faces.”
Israeli photographers employed by foreign television who have been sent to Somalia told Israel Radio that Israel is now well known, and favorably so, because they all know Nathan.
“Mention the name Israel and they will all react by saying, `Oh yes, that’s where Abie Nathan comes from,’” said one cameraman.
Somalia’s last government had no diplomatic relations with Israel and was openly hostile to the Jewish state.
Krupsky said it was anticipated that the sweets would be delivered to Somalia within three weeks.