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Israeli Property Manager Touches Hearts with Housing for Evacuated Residents of Gaza Perimeter

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JERUSALEM, Israel – The growing war with Hamas, while unfortunate, is also leading people to be resourceful and come together.

One Israeli, Avi Goldberg, had an inspiration to help those who have been evacuated from their homes.  

Goldberg owns City of Gold Property Management. When the war broke out, he had what he called a "crazy" idea. 

He told CBN News, "We have many rentals and vacant apartments where owners just come themselves and use them every so often, and we sent an email to our owners about the opportunity to give their homes to people down south (near the Gaza Strip) who really needed it, who haven’t been out of the bomb shelter, and many of them jumped at the opportunity."

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The initiative involves people overseas, mostly Americans, allowing their luxury vacation apartments in Jerusalem to be used free of charge to Israelis forced to flee southern Israel. 

"These are people's homes," Goldberg explained. "They've made it their home. They have pictures of their families. Everything in that apartment is their home. They don't give it to anyone; and here, they're giving it to random people they've never met before."

He quickly realized evacuees needed more than just a place to stay.  

"It was Sunday. Our first family was about to arrive. Some owner generously gave his apartment over, and I spoke to my wife, and she’s like – they have little kids maybe we’ll bring them some toys – and she calls me after she meets them and she says, ‘Avi, it’s not toys we’re talking here, they have nothing.' They came with the clothing on their backs. They don’t have socks, they don’t have clothing, they don’t have food. Really, they have nothing." 

Goldberg named the project after Nathaniel Young, a 20-year-old soldier killed defending his base. 

The fallen soldier's brother, Eliot, told us some of his story.

"Nathaniel was my dear brother, He moved to Israel about two years ago," Eliot recalled."Sadly, he was killed on the 7th of October, when the war started, when terrorists infiltrated Israel from Gaza."  

While observing the Jewish week of mourning for Nathaniel, Eliot Young and his family received so many gifts, they wanted to share them.   

"A lot of amazing people, different organizations, people I knew, people I didn’t, brought me different packages of food and different things, and we just had so much, that we didn’t need it," he explained. "We heard about this, I’m still getting things delivered to my door by various companies and local businesses and I just brought a box of stuff today. And at the same time, other people – now that we’re realizing the scale and what’s needed – a lot of people are just bringing things."

One hundred volunteers are helping in this project. So far, they've housed more than 250 people, many of them from Netivot, where terrorists hijacked a police car and drove through the streets. 

Israel Hadad, an Israeli who was forced to evacuate, related the circumstances his family faced. "The children were in the house all the time for a week and a half, full of fear. Not only afraid of terrorists, every time we heard shooting, we didn’t know who it was, the fear was also from the rocket attacks. Underneath the house where we live, there was a rocket that the (Israeli Defense Forces) blew up, but just to hear this, it was like being on the battlefield."

Then Hadad received an offer to stay in a Jerusalem apartment. It took two days to decide it was safe enough to travel with his wife and three children.

" All the way, of course we were praying there wouldn’t be sirens or terrorists," he said. "We couldn’t believe at first that we arrived at an apartment that really – that there are people like this.  They gave us a home, there are no words to even thank these people."

Young's message to the world: "Look for the truth and protect the Jews in your country."

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and