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Jewish Journal

Voice Across Israel

by Keren Engelberg

February 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

Israelis now have their very own "Band Aid."Perhaps inspired by other projects of the past, like "USA for Africa," and "Live Aid," the Jewish Agency, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Hed Arzi Music Company, has released a CD of Israeli pop music to benefit Israeli victims of terror, titled "Yesh Od Tikva" (Our Hope Endures).

The name comes from the title track, which was written by David D'or and recorded by a group of Israeli artists. The rest of the CD is a compilation of songs of hope by Israeli musicians like Aviv Geffen, Shlomo Arzi and Yehudit Ravitz. All proceeds go to NATAL: the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War.

Founded in 1998, NATAL, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emotional and psychological support for Israelis experiencing trauma associated with war, military service and terrorism. Their services for this type of post-traumatic stress disorder include a hotline, clinical center, therapeutic social club, community outreach projects, interactive Web site and public education activities.

Unlike other kinds of trauma, the threat of terrorism affects every Israeli citizen every day. With the outbreak of the Intifada, NATAL's hotline calls increased from 30 to 150 a month. After a major terrorist attack, the hotline can receive as many as 150 calls a week, and more than 600 a month.

The CD is one of several ways the organization is working to raise funds to help meet these increasing demands. In April and May 2002, they held a fundraising campaign selling keychains with their logo and hotline number in Supersol supermarkets and Mashbir L'Tsarchan department stores. Natal also receives donations from private individuals and organizations worldwide, including local organizations such as The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Magbit Foundation and Sinai Temple.

And while it's not quite the response garnered by "We Are the World," "Yesh Od Tikvah" has certainly been successful so far. A gold disc in Israel means you've sold 20,000 copies. The "by Israelis, for Israelis" variation has already sold a respectable 18,000-plus, copies.

"Yesh Od Tikva" is available in the United States through Sifrutake, (800) 737-8853, or online through Steimatzky, www.stmus.com. For more information about Natal, visit www.natal.org.il/eng/home.html .

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