AJC Donates $100,000 to Israel Fire Relief

Dec 04, 2010, 21:25 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is making an initial $100,000 donation to Israeli relief organizations assisting communities devastated by the unprecedented forest fire raging in the country’s north near Haifa. AJC’s Jerusalem Office is completing an assessment and recipients will be announced soon.

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“We are deeply moved by the dedication and courage of the firefighters, police, soldiers and other rescue workers engaged in fighting the blaze and its devastating effect,” AJC President Robert Elman and Executive Director David Harris wrote in a letter delivered to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The massive fire has claimed 41 lives, displaced more than 17,000, damaged communities and destroyed thousands of acres of forest. “We extend our condolences to the families of the dead, pray for the wounded, and mourn the devastating destruction wrought on the Carmel Mountain area,” said Harris.

In addition, AJC has reopened its Israel Emergency Assistance Fund to enable individuals to contribute to the rescue and recovery efforts AJC is supporting. Donations can be made at www.ajc.org. The Fund, to support Israeli humanitarian and relief efforts, was activated in 2006 during the war between Israel and Hezbollah, and again during Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza at the end of 2008.

AJC has a longstanding tradition of responding to humanitarian crises around the world. Several, including the Haiti earthquake, involved AJC supporting Israeli first-responders.

“We are gratified that so many nations have mobilized to support Israel with the same urgency with which Israel responds to humanitarian emergencies around the world,” said Harris. “It is heartening to see that in such moments of crisis, even the most acute political differences can be overcome.”

Countries sending aircraft and other firefighting equipment include Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and United States. In addition, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have offered assistance.

“This outpouring of international goodwill and solidarity for Israel is very moving,” said Harris.

Indeed, as Prime Minister Netanyahu observed in his speech Saturday night, “The fact that during Chanukah, Turkish speaking pilots, and pilots speaking Greek are flying together with Israeli pilots will certainly have positive repercussions.”

SOURCE American Jewish Committee