JNF KKL 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
NEW YORK – In the wake of the destruction of the Carmel forest fire, Americans
this week are attempting to lend a hand to the embattled region in any way they
can, even as research continues as to what the best way to help the region might
By last Thursday morning, Jewish National Fund Director of
Communications Jodi Bodner said, “It was clear this was already becoming a
horrible, horrible fire.”
JNF is the sole fundraising arm in America for
Israel’s fire and rescue services, and had sent nearly 60 compact fire trucks to
Israel over the past few years, as well as other fire equipment and assistance
building fire stations.
Last Thursday, JNF launched an emergency
fundraising campaign for firefighting equipment – “You can’t do anything about
the trees while they’re burning,” Bodner said – and raised $1.5 million from
donors in under a week.
JNF’s newest campaign, Operation Northern Renewal
– From Black To Green, began Monday. Its goal is to raise $10 million for
reforesting and firefighting efforts. Bodner was unsure of how raised funds
would be divided between the two goals. Bodner said JNF CEO Russell Robinson and
other JNF officials are currently in Israel in order to assess the country’s and
“The forests up north have been a huge boom to tourism
industry,” Bodner said. “It’s really important to get back on track and it takes
a long time – it takes 50 to 60 years to regrow a forest to what it
Experts at the University of Haifa have said they generally oppose
planting of young trees in the aftermath of a fire, as this could potentially
interfere with natural restoration.
Bodner said she believes the JNF,
pending consultations with both American and Israeli forestry experts, will not
plant anything for a year in the region, “to see where nature takes
“Natural regeneration comes first,” Bodner said, noting that
favoring natural regeneration was also JNF’s approach to the areas of forest
destroyed by the Second Lebanon War.