IFCJ gives $1.5 million to fortify pediatric dialysis unit; distributes $4.8 million for Passover to those affected by war

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews says Passover support will go to evacuees, Oct. 7 survivors and families of injured soldiers

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews donated nearly $1.5 million to Schneider Children’s Hospital in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva to create a fortified pediatric dialysis unit to ensure that kidney patients can get the treatment they need even in the case of rocket and missile attacks, the organization said last week.

Ahead of the Passover holiday later this month, the fellowship is also distributing $4.8 million in financial assistance to some 100,000 people, primarily those who have been evacuated from their homes, as well as bereaved families and the families of the hostages.

The fortified dialysis unit was named for IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who died in 2019, in light of the $1.45 million donation from the organization. The new unit, which was dedicated and opened last Tuesday, is made up of 11 patient-stations and two separate rooms that were built to withstand direct strikes. 

“The need for a protected facility of this type comes from the constantly changing threat to the home front and the strategic role we play in Israel’s health-care infrastructure,” Dr. Efrat Baron-Harlev, the hospital’s director, said at the opening ceremony. “Since Oct. 7, we have been actively working to ensure maximum physical protection for all our patients, staff and visitors. This new unit, through the support of the IFCJ, will be critical for enabling our dialysis services to continue despite what might be going on beyond the hospital walls.”

In the past, IFCJ, which focuses on funding projects related to security, welfare and immigration to Israel, has also contributed to the construction of a sheltered emergency department in the French Hospital in Nazareth and to fortifying the neonatal intensive care unit and MRI department of Barzilai Medical Center in the southern city of Ashkelon.

“Our focus and dedication has been on raising and distributing the funds necessary to respond to these new realities, including providing the assurance that patients can continue to receive medical care even in the face of these dangers,” IFCJ President Yael Eckstein said at the opening. “I am particularly honored that this unit will bear my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s name, whose life’s work was all about this quest to defend and promote the welfare of our nation’s children and families.”

In the first three months of the war, IFCJ allocated more than $21 million toward civil defense and security projects, including installing bomb shelters, purchasing armored vehicles for border communities and distributing hundreds of first responder medical kits.

As part of the organization’s welfare focus, it is distributing nearly 19,000 debit cards loaded with NIS 600 ($160) to evacuated families, to the families of injured soldiers and to the families of people killed at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 to use towards purchasing food items for Passover. IFCJ will also give 2,000 debit cards to survivors of the massacre at the festival. The evacuated families will receive an additional NIS 400 ($106) specifically earmarked for purchasing new clothes for the holiday.

The $4.8 million that the organization estimates will be distributed through this Passover allocation joins the $6.7 million that IFCJ has already distributed since Oct. 7 to displaced people, families of injured soldiers and civilians.

“Wartime brings with it so many challenges, constantly changing and impacting how and where people need help,” Eckstein said in a statement. “We know that this Passover will be like none Israel has ever experienced before, in a state of war and with so many family members away from home or tragically never to return. Our commitment therefore must be to respond in all ways possible, especially as we say at the Passover seder, ‘All who are hungry, come and eat.’”