AJC Will Plant Forest Honoring Israeli Victims, International Rescuers of Carmel Fire

Dec 07, 2010, 13:22 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC announced today a major donation to the Jewish National Fund to help rehabilitate the Carmel forests.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO)

The AJC-sponsored forest of 10,000 trees will commemorate the 42 Israeli police officers killed in the wildfire, and honor the nations that provided firefighting equipment and personnel to extinguish the fire.

"The groves comprising the AJC forest will be a timeless tribute to the victims and rescuers in one of Israel's most tragic disasters," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

"AJC will invite to tree-planting ceremonies the ambassadors to Israel of each country that provided vital life-saving assistance. Countries to be recognized include Azerbaijan, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Jordan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the U.S."

An initial donation of $100,000 from AJC's Israel Emergency Assistance Fund has been allocated for the forest. The AJC fund is accepting donations at www.ajc.org for additional relief work following the fire.

Forty-one Israeli police officers, en route to help evacuate a prison near the fire, perished when their bus was engulfed by flames. Haifa police chief Ahuva Tomer, who was in a car near the bus, was severely burned and succumbed to her injuries yesterday.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life, and extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," said Harris. "In a nation as small as Israel, these deaths touch everyone."

Harris praised the outpouring of international support for Israel.

"Like Israel, we are eternally grateful to the many governments who responded immediately to Prime Minister Netanyahu's request," said Harris. "The groves we plant in their honor will stand in perpetuity as a celebration of life and their noble efforts."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee