When it was hard to find a solution, we were there. When all the doors slammed shut, Yesh was there to open them. At the beginning of COVID 19 lockdown, we had no app, and Israeli travellers had to go to several places and find different arrangements for a month of no travel. We were helping Israelis during the lockdown, and we still are. On Israel’s independence day, we drove all the way to Tauranga and visited the Israeli travellers for Israel’s independence day.
The lockdown was quite rough for some travellers as they found many issues regarding a good place to stay in. Traveller hostels had to stop people from coming into their hosted because of government restrictions and fear of getting infected. We don’t blame them, it’s known that the COVID 19 virus is highly contagious, and a lot of hosts are over 60. If a host takes a traveller in, they might be risking their own lives. Hostels that could host Israeli travellers charged rent, as most Israeli travellers are accomodating in their vans and weren’t planning on paying for accommodations during the time.
Helping Israelis During Lockdown in Steppin Stone Lodge in Tauranga
There were several places willing to help travellers in need. The first one was Stepping Stones Lodge in Tauranga. The lodge was in quite a pickle; the travelling season has finished early, and they couldn’t host people that came to have a vacation in the area. The moment they understood no one is going to come over, they got a call from Don, the manager of Yesh, made a call. Tania decided they will host Israeli travellers during the lockdown.
More then 20 Israeli travellers came in and out of the lodge during the month. Some of them even found a job in fruit picking around the area (essential jobs could be done during the COVID 19 Lockdown). They celebrated Passover, ANZEC day, and after the lockdown was over, we celebrated independence day with the travellers. We had a big barbeque, listened to Israeli music, danced, and even had a little bit of a water fight. The celebration of Israel’s independence day was great.
Helping Israelis in Chosen Valley Camp, Auckland
A lot of travellers decided they need to get back home to Israel as soon as possible. Travelling agencies, the Israeli Consulate in Wellington, the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, and several other Israelis like Liat Lev and the Chabad movement decided they’ll help Israelis that want to come back home. We decided that we’ll find them a place to stay in Auckland. Chosen Valley Camp has risen to the occasion.
Phil, a representative of the camp talked to us about how many Israelis they should expect and requested that Israelis would speak to him before they came into the camp. Opening camping sites was forbidden during the lockdown, and the only way we could make it work was to request approval from the New Zealand law enforcement agencies. Once we had that approval, over a dozen of Israelis came to the Chosen Valley Camp and were sent back home.
Helping Israelis during Lockdown in Other Places
There were some people and big hosts that decided they were opening their gates to Israeli travellers. There were plenty of people helping Israelis and found them a place to stay; David from Whanganui, the Te Anau Church, and even private people that just gave them a room like Pam from Hamilton. Everyone could help Israeli travellers. This lockdown taught us that everyone can help Israelis during a lockdown just by providing a bed.
You could host Israelis from now on just by using an app.
Host Israeli travellers, Download the Yesh App –
Happy Independence day!