Message from the IAJF Board of Trustees
Dear Friends and supporters,
In November of 2016, arson and wildfires devastated Israel, causing injuries to its residents and destruction of forests, homes and infrastructure.
Citizens contributed food and clothing, and opened their homes to strangers who had been forced to evacuate. Volunteers and firefighters have been on the front lines extinguishing fires, saving lives, evacuating houses, tracking arsonists, utilizing emergency response centers, patrolling and preventing further destruction.
The results of this crisis: over 630 fires, 600 homes were destroyed, 32,000 acres of forest and brushland were burnt, 1,700 residents became homeless, and 180 people were injured. It will take years to rebuild and to recover from these brutal wildfires; nevertheless, the strength of Israel comes from its people and world Jewry. Together, we will rebuild, regrow and reinforce the people and State of Israel!
The IAJF is committed to supporting Israel during these trying times. Thanks to the annual support and generosity of our donors, the IAJF was able to respond to the crisis and immediately transfer $50,000 in emergency funds on behalf of the community, to the following organizations:
Thank you for enabling us to respond to these emergency needs.
- The Haifa Foundation to sponsor the reconstruction and equipment replacement of two kindergartens in Haifa, Safir and Flowers. The largest fire occurred in Haifa. Buildings, schools and kindergartens were burned down, and 75,000 residents (about a quarter of the city's population) were evacuated. During the fire 11 schools and kindergartens were damaged; 2 of these institutions were destroyed completely. Safir and Flowers kindergartens will be the first to be fully restored in the upcoming month.
- UJA Federation of New York Israel Fire Relief Fund to support UJA partners already on the ground providing critical humanitarian services.
- The Jewish Agency, providing financial support to families whose homes were entirely destroyed or made unlivable.
- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), supporting Israel's elderly and disabled as they recover from damage due to the fires.
- The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), providing relief at Carmel Hospital and evacuation centers, as well as providing direct care throughout the municipality of Haifa and mapping trauma needs of smaller municipalities hit by the blazes.
HaShomer HaChadash to purchase two drones for the "Forest Keeper Program", whose members assist Israel's fire and rescue services throughout Israel. Drones survey vast tracts of land that are difficult to cover at ground level with human observation alone. The presence of a drone in the air remains undetected during an incident. In 30 minutes it can survey tens of thousands of acres and locate criminals in real time in order to help combat agricultural crime on a daily basis.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Israel.
Board of Trustees
Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York