Left-wing Movements to Raise Funds for Soldier Care Packages

Peace Now, Labor, Kibbutz Movement, Yahad unite to form an umbrella organization called Mateh Harov.

Several left-wing movements have joined forced in an initiative to raise funds in order to distribute care packages to Israel Defense Forces soldiers and police officers who will take part in the disengagement.

Peace Now, the Labor Party, Yahad and the Kibbutz Movement have united to form an umbrella organization called Mateh Harov [The Majority Headquarters]. They recently launched a website to collect donations for the initiative.

Each package will cost approximately 40 NIS apiece, and will include sweets and drinks the soldiers and officers might need while on duty.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said that the organization is not trying to undermine the ability of the Association of the Well Being of the Soldier to provide similar services, but said that they are aware of the many problems that could arise during an activity like this.

"We are in a little bit of a bind. On the one hand we are worried about bringing politics into the army by distributing packages on behalf of a political body like ours. On the other hand we want to send a message that they are fulfilling the desires of the majority of the public which stands behind them," Oppenheimer said.

In addition to care packages, Peace Now will be distributing in the next few days 10,000 blue bracelets adorned with the phrase, "Yes to the Disengagement." They are also considering handing out blue heart stickers in pronouncement of their solidarity with the settlers during the evacuation.

"There is indecision in the movement over how much to embrace the settlers," Oppenheimer said. "In any case, there is a clear distinction between understanding the distress of the evacuees and being disappointed with the way settlement leaders have conducted themselves."