JNF USA Contributes $2M to Israel's Firefighting Services.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The ceremony took place at the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority headquarters in Rishon LeZion in the presence of JNF USA CEO Russell Robinson, Acting Israel Fire and Rescue Authority Commissioner Shimon Ben Ner and Acting Executive Director of KKL-JNF Resources, Development and PR Division Moshe Perl.
Russell Robinson presented Ben Ner with an outsized check of $2,000,000. Robinson said that this check would be the first of a series of contributions, to fund projects to upgrade Israel’s firefighting services in outlying areas.
Following the devastating fires that ravaged Israel in late November of last year, JNF USA initiated an emergency fundraising drive to assist Israel with recovery from the damage. Robinson said that it did not take much to convince donors as the facts spoke loudly for themselves.
“We collected $6,000,000 within a couple of weeks which is earmarked for intensive reforestation of areas destroyed by the fires, and for bolstering the county’s firefighting facilities."
During the six-day blaze approximately 8,300 dunams (2,050 acres) of planted forest went up in flames. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes and hundreds of houses were burned, some down to the ground.
Over 300 KKL-JNF foresters and firefighters worked around the clock alongside teams from the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, to douse the flames in over 15 thousand dunams (3,700 acres) of land swept by wildfires. They would rush to wherever they were needed most at any particular point in time, often from one side of the country to another.
Upon accepting the check from JNF-USA on behalf of the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, Shimon Ben Ner said:
“Today a true partnership has been created between Israel Fire and Rescue Authority and JNF-USA, to develop the Negev and the Galilee. In a pre-ceremony meeting with Russell and other JNF-USA officials, we presented our requirements to build new fire stations in outlying and dangerous areas. They listened to us attentively and gave the ‘green light’ to proceed with further planning.”
Watch video of the check presentation ceremony