Emergency ResponseIsrael-Gaza Conflict

HIAS is working to meet urgent humanitarian needs and provide community mental health support to those impacted by the current crisis in Israel.


Residents inspect the damage to their building in the southern city of Ashkelon on October 9, 2023, after it was hit during the night by a rocket from the Gaza Strip. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

The impact of the October 7 attacks continues to be felt across the region

In the ensuing months, two displacement crises have arisen: one in Israel, and one in Gaza. In each crisis, civilians, traumatized by violence, have been uprooted from their homes, unsure when they will be able to return.  

In Israel, families advocate for the release of the estimated 120 people still held hostage in Gaza. Over 100,000 Israelis remain internally displaced, including dozens of communities near the Gaza Strip and along the border with Lebanon. 

Support from government and civil society organizations, including HIAS and our partners, has made significant progress in addressing the needs of displaced populations within Israel. But the same cannot be said for the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians displaced in Gaza, where blockages of aid and the near complete destruction of infrastructure has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe. Palestinians now face famine and disease, and must contend with simultaneous shelter, water, sanitation, and healthcare crises. 


"HIAS Is Bringing Us All the Things We Are Missing"

Tekie Asrat, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, describes how HIAS Israel has helped him after being displaced by the attacks of October 7, 2023. For years, HIAS Israel has provided services to asylum seekers from Eritrea and other African countries, a population that had fled war and oppression in their home countries. Many of these asylum seekers have since endured further trauma in the wake of October 7.

Humanitarian needs

Humanitarian needs

To understand critical needs and gaps in services, HIAS Emergency Response teams assessed displaced communities in Israel and consulted with local and national NGOs within 48 hours of the attacks. Assessments confirmed the need for coordinated and sustained basic services including cash assistance, counseling and psychosocial support, and an array of protection programs for the displaced, especially children. 

Displaced persons who fall outside of government support, such as refugees and migrant workers, were further identified as having urgent needs. HIAS continues to serve these populations, reaching out to refugees, migrants, Israeli citizens, and other communities in locations where needs were reportedly unmet. As in many rapid onset emergencies, a swell of community-organized services and support for those displaced emerged. However, more sustainable solutions are still needed. 

Semira, an African asylum seeker, embraces a HIAS volunteer during a food and supplies distribution in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 14, 2024. (AG for HIAS)

HIAS' Response

HIAS' Response

Based on our pre-existing presence, programming, and networks in Israel, HIAS is currently focused on responding to the needs of those internally displaced, and refugee and asylum seeker communities in Israel.  

HIAS began with emergency protection services and shelter assistance and has now expanded its response to include cash assistance, provision of food and household items, and psychosocial support services. Remote vulnerable communities that were forcibly displaced from the attacks in the South, including Eritrean families who had been seeking asylum in Israel before the crisis, are especially at risk. HIAS is providing: 

  • Urgent items such as hygiene supplies, blankets, school supplies, and dignity kits 
  • Cash and voucher assistance to those affected by the crisis, especially those in shelters 
  • Help through local partners for additional health, protection, housing/shelter, and legal services 
  • Mental health and psychosocial support 
  • Child protection 
  • Referrals and information for additional services 

HIAS has over 20 national partnerships, which are being reconfigured to support urgent needs. We also have formed new partnerships during this emergency. 

HIAS is also closely monitoring the devastating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and continues to advocate for immediate, full, and sustained humanitarian access to these communities. We also continue to call for all civilians to be protected, hostages to be released, and for the laws of war to be observed by all parties. 

Volunteers prepare the distribution rations during the collaborative effort of HIAS’ Emergency Response and HaHamal HaMeshutaf in providing essential food assistance to 500 families in the Negev region, Israel. (Sergey Ponomarev for HIAS)

Response Achievements

Response Achievements

HIAS and our partners are working to meet urgent humanitarian needs and provide support to those affected. 

  • 256, 956 people reached 
  • 96,036 people received mental health first aid. 
  • 90,001 people utilized information channels. 
  • 15,511 meal kits distributed 
  • 1,244 people received cash and/or voucher assistance 
  • 7,814 people received legal aid 
African refugees appear at a food distribution center in Israel.
Asylum seekers at a food distribution event at the Negev Refugee Center in Beer Sheva, Israel, on December 27, 2023. (Amnon Gutman for HIAS)

Help Support Relief Efforts

Help Support Relief Efforts

Since the horrific attacks of October 7, HIAS and our partners have supported more than 250,000 people in Israel, with a focus on providing psychosocial support and basic needs such as hygiene kits, blankets, and school supplies. HIAS is serving the most marginalized and conflict-affected communities in Israel, who still need food and mental health and psychosocial support. 

We are also closely monitoring the situation in Gaza, where nearly 1.8 million Palestinians have been displaced. This population now faces famine and disease along with a lack of access to adequate shelter, water, sanitation, and healthcare. 

Yordanos (C) and Tagasti (R), African asylum seekers who live with their children in Israel, talk during a food and supplies distribution by HIAS in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AG for HIAS)

A MESSAGE FROM HIASSustaining Life Amid the Devastation

As an organization that is deeply rooted in humanity and empathy, advocating for the rights and safety of vulnerable people around the world, HIAS recognizes the pain of any life destroyed. … We demand that the parties to the conflict protect civilians from violence as required by international law, and that doctors and aid workers receive the support they need to save lives so we can prevent the growing humanitarian crisis from becoming a complete humanitarian catastrophe.  

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