Olmert asks Diaspora Jewry to 'rise to challenge' of rebuilding

Most of the rehabilitation will involve restoring damaged northern cities and helping people return home.

Olmert speaks 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Olmert speaks 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday appealed to Diaspora Jewry in a live television address to garner support for the United Jewish Communities' Israel Emergency Campaign, a large-scale effort to raise money for northern communities devastated by the war. While Olmert made a number of points about how Syria and Iran must be considered enemies alongside Hizbullah in the conflict, he spent most of his time encouraging Jews abroad to support Israel's rebuilding of the Katyusha-ridden North. Olmert said that most of the rehabilitation would involve restoring damaged cities and helping people return to their homes and resume their lives. "This is a huge burden that we are going to take upon ourselves," Olmert said in his address, "and I know, based on the great tradition of solidarity and partnership between the Jewish communities and the State of Israel, and the Jewish people Diaspora would respond swiftly and generously to Israel's request for aid. "I believe that this is a war that is fought by all the Jews," Olmert said. "We know that... with [your] love for Israel, with your partnership, you will come and build with us and fight with us, and defend our country, and help build it the way it has to be." Olmert also made clear that the enemy Israel is currently facing is not just Hizbullah, but also includes Syria and Iran. What sets them apart from the Israelis, he said, is their treatment of civilians. "The fundamental difference between us and the Hizbullah, and the Iranians and Syrians," Olmert said, "is that when we hit a civilian we consider it a great failure, [and] when they kill civilians, they think it is a great success." The United Jewish Communities (UJC), which represents 55 Jewish federations and 400 independent Jewish communities across North America, broadcast the prime minister's speech live at over 100 locations in the US. His address was also aired on several major news channels.