Israel orgs to provide Holocaust survivors with free electricity

Amid one of the hottest summers on record, many Holocaust survivors are unable to afford to keep their homes cool.

Elderly woman thanks IFCJ representative (photo credit:  Elad Malka, IFCJ)
Elderly woman thanks IFCJ representative
(photo credit: Elad Malka, IFCJ)

In a joint effort, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) have agreed to supply Israelis in need with electricity, according to a Thursday statement from both organizations.

Among those who will receive the subsidized energy are more than 700 Holocaust survivors.  

The agreement signed between the IFCJ and the IEC creates a NIS 30 million (approximately 8 million USD) fund to supply thousands of elderly Israelis and impoverished households with electricity.

The energy fund will enable its beneficiaries to cool their homes this summer, which is extremely important given the sweltering temperatures Israel experiences in the summer months.

FOREST FIRE spreads out of control in central Israel during a heatwave, August 3, 2021 (credit: ISRAEL FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN)
FOREST FIRE spreads out of control in central Israel during a heatwave, August 3, 2021 (credit: ISRAEL FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN)

“This partnership expands our ability to provide humanitarian support to those households that are facing particularly difficult financial conditions that force them to conserve electricity,” noted Israel Electric Corporation CEO, Meir Shpeigler. “Electricity is a basic and life-saving commodity, particularly in these extremely hot conditions.  Together with the IFCJ, we feel it is our mission to work on behalf of those who need our support and ensure these people have what they need.”

Heat exposure and climate change

Heat exposure can be deadly and, especially in recent years as climate change drives average global temperatures ever higher, this threat is particularly severe.

In fact, the UN weather agency reported earlier this month that July was the hottest month of any month on record. The agency further theorizes that it was likely hotter than any month in the previous 120,000 years.

Moreover, according to the Washington Post, 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record.

Recipients of the IFJC/IEC funding have expressed gratitude for the subsidized energy.

“My daughter got the call telling us that our electric bills would be covered by the generosity of the IFCJ and the Electric Company and we were really moved by this gesture,” said Yehuda Anavu, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor living in Yehud. “Particularly in these days, it’s heartwarming to know that our community of survivors is being remembered.  I am always worried how I will get through my monthly bills and in particular in the summer when we need to keep cool and the electricity costs are adding up.  I have been forced to limit the amount of time that I run the air conditioner but with it only getting hotter I can now live without that concern and be able to enjoy a cool and safe home.”

Along with Israel’s Welfare Ministry and local agencies and organizations, the fund works to identify individuals and homes that fit IFCJ criteria to ensure that the aid is allocated appropriately.

“There is no way we can stand by and witness people, particularly the elderly, be forced to live in Israel today without their basic necessities, and certainly without electricity,” Yael Eckstein, the president of the IFCJ said. “It is inconceivable that people have to live in fear of turning on their air conditioner because they won’t be able to afford the monthly bill.  We therefore decided to join with the IEC in directly supporting the needs of those who can’t pay those bills and we are committed to continuing to do all we can to help these families and individuals live their lives in dignity and with the support they need and deserve.”

The IFCJ is Israel’s largest philanthropic social aid organization. It serves Jews in Israel and all around the world.

The statement notes that the organization has served over 2 million individuals in the last year alone and has a special focus on providing support to Holocaust survivors, of whom the IFCJ actively provides aid to 9,500.