Fires spark emergency campaigns by Jewish organizations

“Jewish National Fund is on the ground today and every day building a stronger, healthier, more secure Israel.”

November 28, 2016 19:50
2 minute read.
A member of the Rothbart family, who received a Jewish Agency grant in the wake of the past week's w

A member of the Rothbart family, who received a Jewish Agency grant in the wake of the past week's wildfires, surveys the damage in the family home in the community of Nirit.. (photo credit: THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL)


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Jewish organizations here and abroad rallied speedily to assist Israel in the wake of fires – many caused by arsonists – that raged throughout the country over the past week.

“For over a week, our beloved homeland has been engulfed in devastating fires forcing hundreds of families to abandon their homes on the frontlines,” the Jewish National Fund said in a statement.

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“They destroy. We build. Join us. Donate now!” The organization launched an emergency campaign for the intensive reforestation of areas destroyed by the blazes, as well as for critically needed firefighting trucks and equipment.

JNF said it was working with its many partners in Israel, including Nefesh B’Nefesh, Makom, Western Galilee Now, Hashomer HaChadash and Green Horizons to help those affected by the fires.

Since last week, more than 7,500 acres of forests and 2,700 acres of urban areas have been destroyed by fires, and 137 people suffered fire-related injuries.

At least 569 homes burned down throughout Israel.

“Jewish National Fund is on the ground today and every day building a stronger, healthier, more secure Israel,” the statement said. “In cooperation with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), JNF partner organizations, first responders and firefighting battalions, JNF is working to address both the immediate needs and those that will arise tomorrow for the land and people of Israel.”

Eric Michaelson, JNF’s chief Israel officer, added: “The trees and forests burning were planted by JNF to begin with.

And when we put out the fires, JNF will be there yet again to replenish, revitalize, plant and grow them back.

“I say ‘we put out,’ because the courageous firefighters currently battling the fires are doing so with the equipment that JNF has furnished them with, using the fire trucks that JNF has provided.”

The Jewish Agency for Israel announced immediate financial assistance would be provided to hundreds of families who cannot return to their homes due to damage caused by the wildfires.

Grants of $1,000 are being provided to each family to help address urgent needs presented by the loss of their place of residence.

“At trying times like these, world Jewry feels closely connected to what is taking place in Israel and comes to our help without hesitation,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said. “We are proud of our partners in Jewish communities around the world, and particularly in North America, and appreciate their solidarity when it matters the most.”

The Israeli-American Council (IAC) launched an urgent collection campaign “for the firefighters working around the clock to save lives and property.”

“At this critical moment, we must unite to lend a hand to our brothers and sisters in Israel,” the IAC said.

“We encourage you to donate now to this critical effort to give these courageous men and women the support that they need to address this grave danger. Together, let’s send a powerful message that we stand with the Israeli people at this time of need.”

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