As we gather with our family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend, our thoughts are with the people of Israel as fires continue to burn across central and northern Israel.
Since the fires began four days ago, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, homes have been destroyed, major roadways closed, and essential services interrupted. Israel’s security establishment believes that some of the wildfires may have been acts of terror by arsonists.
Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and Boston’s sister city, was one of the hardest hit. More than 60,000 residents were evacuated, and while officials say the immediate danger has passed and residents can return home, the damage is extensive.
We have spoken with our partners in Haifa to convey our community’s support. We have learned that several members of the Boston-Haifa Connection have lost their homes and a number of synagogues and schools have been damaged.
CJP will send immediate funds to provide emergency assistance for those affected by the fire. Additionally, we have established a special fund, the Israel Fire Relief Fund, to address ongoing needs. You can donate by clicking below. One hundred percent of funds donated will be used to help fire recovery efforts in Israel.
The fires began earlier this week at the Neve Shalom community near Jerusalem where Israelis and Arabs live together. Later, blazes erupted in the northern Israeli area of Zichron Yaakov and elsewhere near Jerusalem before the largest ones spread across Haifa.
Firefighting personnel are working around the clock and army reservists have been called up. The international community has rallied to assist Israel. Several countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, and Greece are sending personnel, equipment, and firefighting planes. More help is on the way, including an American 747 Supertanker.
As always, we are committed to helping our brothers and sisters in Israel in times of need. This is one of those times. In the coming days, I will share more about our support for the relief efforts. I am leaving for Haifa this Sunday evening, and will post more from there.
Wishing all of you and all the people of Israel a Shabbat Shalom.