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11
Oct

Mauricio: Seeking – and Providing – Safety in the Holy Land

In Venezuela, those in the close-knit Jewish community are prime kidnapping targets for gangs seeking ransom. Local law enforcement is powerless against these criminal activities.

As a child, Mauricio was abducted not once, but twice. For his safety, his parents sent him to live with extended family in rural Mexico. While he was there, Mauricio’s father died due to medical mismanagement of a heart problem. Meanwhile, conditions in Mexico worsened steadily with the escalating drug wars.

After yet another brush with a potential abductor in Mexico, Mauricio decided to seek his future elsewhere. A strong Zionist, he visited Israel for several months in 2010, and was immediately taken with life there, especially because it was the one place he did not have to feel afraid because he is Jewish.

“It was the first time I’d ever seen security personnel who I knew would actually protect me,” Mauricio, now 20, says of Israeli soldiers. “In Israel, there is always at least one soldier, someone you can trust, wherever you are. Everywhere you go in Israel, there is someone who will help you.”

Finally, with help from The Fellowship, Mauricio was able to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel). He is currently taking a Fellowship-funded Hebrew course and living on a kibbutz in the Galilee. He plans to join the Israel Defense Forces because he says, “I want to be that guy: I want to be the person who makes others feel safe.”

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