Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Israel: Jewish and Arab Israeli children show friendships and healing know no race, religion or boundaries

While local, national and global headlines focus on the conflict between cultures in the Middle East, when it comes to children and their innate human nature, race, religion and the company they choose to keep, it isn't political.

Beginning Aug. 9, a group of 28 culturally diverse and united Israeli children (ages seven to 17) – 14 Arab and 14 Jewish – with life-threatening cancer will travel from Israel to Orlando for an escape from their everyday life of hospital beds and treatment rooms so they can just be kids. The trip is a successful result of international cooperation between LEV (Hebrew word for "heart" and acronym for "to fight together"), an Israeli non-profit organization based in Haifa created by parents of cancer-stricken children, and many Central Florida-based charities and attractions including Give Kids The World, a non-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. The unique endeavor is orchestrated by Orlando-based business Travel Holdings®.

During the 10-day adventure, the kids will visit many of Orlando's magical entertainment venues including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios and all of Disney's theme parks. They will also spend a morning at the Give Kids The World Village and take an air tour of Orlando in a 4-seater plane getting a bird's eye view of the parks visited during their vacation. At the helm piloting will be Uri Argov, president and CEO of Travel Holdings, Inc, who regularly conducts air tours for guests of Give Kids The World Village through Mauiva, a subsidiary of Travel Holdings, Inc.

Locals in the Orlando community can share in this group's visit during an evening of Israeli and American entertainment featuring popular Israeli comic and musician Nanssi Brandes and singer Aviva Avidan, as well as Orlando-native rock band The Wellspring. The free concert on Aug. 12 at 8:00 p.m., hosted at Trinity Prep School, a local, private, Christian school is open to the public.

"Only by fighting together with one heart we can help each other give hope to the children during their long hard fight against cancer," said Uri Argov, president and CEO, Travel Holdings. "In working with both of these charities for some time, it has been inspiring to see what a positive impact their programs have on these children as well as the positive impact the children have on those they meet."

Traveling with the children will be a physician, nurse, three "survivor volunteers" of the LEV program, four parents to serve as chaperones and the Israeli entertainers. Furthermore, an Israeli television crew is documenting the visit for production and broadcast by Channel One, the national Israeli TV station (owned by the government).


Travel Holdings, Inc.® (www.travelholdings.com), one of the most distinctive and expansive travel distribution companies in the world, was created in early 2004 through the merger of Tourico Holidays®, LastMinuteTravel.com® and Travel Global Systems (TGS).

About LEV

LEV is an Israeli non-government and nonprofit organization dedicated supporting children diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, as well as their families, doctors and nurses, independent of race or religion. "LEV" ("Heart"), an acronym in Hebrew for "to fight together" (Lehilachem Beyachad), is founded on the belief that by fighting together with one heart, patients, friends and families find strength to endure the long hard fight with childhood cancer. Established in 1991 by parents of children stricken with cancer who were hospitalized in Rambam hospital in Haifa, LEV continues to be a 100-percent volunteer organization with participation from many of the children "survivors" that found hope in the charity.

About Give Kids The World

Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre nonprofit "storybook" resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations in its whimsical on-site villas, donated attraction tickets, meals, and more, to create a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation for each family. With the help of many generous individuals and corporations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 100,000 families from all over the United States and over 70 countries since opening its founding in 1986. To learn more, visit www.givekidstheworld.org.

Source: LEV