Crowdfunding for Israel and Gaza, with condoms and drones


Crowdfunding campaigns, using sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have become an increasingly popular way to generate money for everything from independent films to new technologies — even healthy-body-image fashion dolls and a rebuilt Third Temple.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that in recent weeks, as the Israel-Gaza war raged on, advocates for both Israelis and Palestinians started crowdfunding campaigns to help their favored sides. (How legitimate these efforts are is anyone’s guess.)

One of the more provocative, albeit not one of the more successful: an Indiegogo campaign seeking to raise money and awareness for the Israel Defense Forces via an “Iron Dome” condom with the motto “safe sex for a safe Israel.” The project’s organizers, Jason Sterling and Idan Twena, describe themselves as “two Canadian Israeli Jews, who have family members currently living in Israel and serving in the Israeli Defence Forces.”

Donor perks include condoms and other “Iron Dome” apparel, with the quantity varying depending on the size of the donation. The perk for those donating $18,000 (so far the largest donation has been $54 — and the total raised is $436) includes two round-trip tickets to Toronto to meet with the co-founders, four nights at the Four Seasons, a one-year supply of Iron Dome condoms and “a crazy night with 10 Iron Dome girls,” whatever an Iron Dome girl is.

At the opposite end of the modesty spectrum is an Indiegogo campaign raising money to provide soldiers with collections of psalms to “send a spiritual protective edge.” That campaign raised over $13,000, with perks ranging from emailed thank-you notes to various religious books — not quite a crazy night with an Iron Dome girl.

Other pro-Israel campaigns include a pizza fund for the troops which exceeded its original goal of 1,000 pizzas and various efforts to provide extra gear for soldiers.

Tzvi (Todd) Wiesel, a member of the Israel Defense Forces’ 97th battalion, turned to Tilt to raise money for extra gear for his unit, claiming in his pitch that “Due to the recent nature of our brigade, the newest in the army, and our battalion, the newest within the brigade the amount of funds allotted for our gear dwarfs in comparison to that of some of the better known units.” (The campaign raised $22,241.75 of its $20,000 goal.)

Meanwhile, a man who goes by “Ron” has raised over $18,000 of his $62,000 goal to help Israel buy more anti-missiles for Iron Dome. Lest you wonder whether an anti-missile is even purchase-able by an individual, Ron has it all figured out.

He writes in his pitch: “Of course, we couldn’t actually buy an Iron Dome anti-missile. But we could donate the exact amount of money to the Israeli government, and ask them to put it towards that defensive system, or any other civilian defence project in affected parts of Israel.”

On the pro-Palestinian side is a campaign for a Gazan version of Iron Dome, but it’s raised just $244 of its billion-dollar goal so far.

On a smaller scale are various campaigns to send humanitarian aid to Gaza’s citizens. While it is difficult to imagine any individual, acting on his or her own and not under the auspices of a larger humanitarian or government organization, getting any amount of aid past the blockade into Gaza, one Indiegogo campaign promises to send a “container” to Palestine. Without specifying the contents of the container, or how it would get into Gaza, it nonetheless surpassed its goal of $842.58. (Dollar amounts aren’t even numbers, because we’ve converted them from the British pounds listed on the campaign page.)

But perhaps the most creative, if not particularly realistic, is a campaign by someone named Syed Ali to send medical aid via drone into Gaza. According to the pitch, “We want to, in addition to the small amounts of aid going in through the border crossings, develop a fleet of remote-controlled drones that can carry 9kg of medical aid through per flight.”

Ali has raised $219 of his $8,846.90 goal so far and says he intends to contribute $7,246 of his own.

The incentive gift for someone donating $5,898? A “keepsake” drone if “the drone is damaged beyond repair (but we have it in our possession).”

Can’t afford the whole drone? For just $1,685.22 you can get the wings.

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