Jewish Agency Officials to Replace 53 Goats Stolen From Kids' Home

Jewish Agency leaders with help of other federations were able to raise enough money in one day to replace herd.

Jewish Agency officials and their colleagues from other federations will replace a herd of 53 goats that was stolen on Thursday from the Ben Yakir Youth Village, Near Hadera.

Children living at the village, which is home to 120 at-risk youth, found their 53 goats gone from their animal corner on Thursday morning. The police subsequently said three men had entered the zoo overnight and stolen the animals.

Within hours, Jewish Agency leaders, staff and colleagues from several federations pitched in and by the end of the day enough money was raised to replace the entire stolen herd. Each goat costs approximately $120.

Staff at Ben Yakir have already contacted an animal herder to replace the goats; a surveillance camera and fencing will be installed around the zoo as well.

"It was heart warming to see the immediate response to restoring the stolen goats," said Maxyne Finkelstein, CEO of the Jewish Agency in North America who coordinated the quick fundraising effort. "Everyone understood immediately that these animals are both pets and a means of helping troubled children build confidence and skills."

Ben Yakir Youth Village is known for its animal therapy program, and the zoo, which includes - in addition to the goats - horses, sheep rabbits, birds and an ostrich, is maintained almost entirely by the youth, and helps them in their social and emotional development.

The site is one of four Jewish Agency villages for youth at high risk, many children of new immigrant families.