Gaza relief funds raised through texting


LONDON (JTA) — British grass-roots fund raising by cell phone text message for hospitals in Israel and Gaza raised $15,000 in one day.

The project was announced Sunday during pro-Israel rallies in London and Manchester.

Donors were asked to dial a special five-digit number from any cell phone with a British service provider and text the word LIFE. More than half of the $2.25 charge for the call will be divided equally between Laniado Hospital in Israel and the Red Cross in Gaza.

Thousands of people who attended the rallies were asked to take part in the fund raising, and more than 9,000 responded.

Jason Caplin, a young activist from London, said "there was a feeling that people want to do something beyond getting to Trafalgar Square and demonstrating their support."

Organizers, encouraged by the success, are hoping to expand the fund raising beyond the Jewish community using tools such as the Internet social networking site Facebook.

“Needless to say, aid organizations do essential work, and this contribution will make a real difference to the lives of those that have been affected by the crisis," said Jon Benjamin, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies, the representative organization of the Jewish community in Britain. "After the vitriol and threats against British Jews that has characterized the response to the conflict, we are pleased that this initiative will actually have a positive impact in the region.”

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