Since the most recent escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine, the Board of World Mission continues to stay in touch with our partners at Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Ramallah, Palestine. Star Mountain is a Unity Undertaking, meaning it is a ministry that is supported by the entirety of the Moravian worldwide church. Founded in 1959, this ministry does amazing work with children and adults living with developmental disabilities. The BWM annually supports the salary of both a speech therapist and an occupational therapist on their staff.
Star Mountain is located in Ramallah, in the West Bank. So, when you hear about violence in the Gaza Strip, that is a different location. However, many restrictions are still being applied to the West Bank as well. The BWM has received several direct updates from our contacts.
Updates as of November 22, 2023:
- The BWM has sent $10,000 already and it will be used to cover the cost of transport for students whose parents have lost their jobs because of the closed border with Israel. We plan to send another $10,000 in December.
- The Israeli shekel has also lost 30% of its purchasing power and this has affected all the staff at SMRC who already have very low salaries.
- A direct quote from our contacts: “Two days ago I had to wait for three hours for the road to open and reach my house as the main road was closed between West Bank (Ramallah) and Jerusalem. A week ago I wanted to go to Bethlehem which is completely closed to cars. I had to park my car walk a gravel road and then take a taxi back and forth to run a certain errand. There is of course no explanation why Bethlehem is wholly closed to cars while Ramallah can get open or shut according to someone’s whim. Most of the people in the west bank especially those that have land close to the separation wall or next to settlements were not able to pick their olives because the settlers either beat them, killed them or stole their olives. Of course, we still live in heaven compared to what is happening in Gaza.”