The Kaminer family of Kiryat Bialik, a Haifa suburb, needed a new place to live, temporarily, on short notice.
A Katyusha missile fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon exploded near their apartment two weeks ago. It was 20 yards away. “It was a miracle no one was injured,” says Chaim Kaminer, a 59-year-old businessman. His home wasn’t damaged, “thanks God,” but his family’s psyche was. “It’s driving you crazy to stay all day in the shelter.”
Kaminer closed his import business, loaded his wife and two young grandchildren and some personal belongings into a van and headed south, joining thousands of Israelis from the Katyushas’ line of fire who were bombed out of their residences or were simply unnerved by the constant attacks. Most are now housed with friends, or are staying in hotels.
Some Israelis don’t have friends with enough space, or don’t have the shekels for a week or more in a hotel.
Enter Liaura Zacharie.
The Kaminers are among a few dozen Israelis who found new living quarters because of Zacharie, a Jerusalem realtor who has used her knowledge of available houses and apartments to offer temporary shelter to the suddenly homeless.
Zacharie is hooking up North Americans who own apartments in Israel, now unoccupied, with Israelis who need a safe place to stay. Neither she nor the owners are charging for their service. (She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“People want to help,” she says. “Of the [owners] I’ve asked, nobody has said no.”
Chaim Kaminer, a native of Germany who came to Israel with his family in 1948, says his family is satisfied with the small, furnished house Zacharie found them in a residential area of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv.
They’ll be there, he hopes, for no more than two weeks.
“It’s very comfortable, but it’s not your house,” Kaminer says. Sometimes they watch the news on TV. “Which is not so comfortable.”