Help Restore Israel's Carmel Forest

On Thursday, December 2, the largest wildfire in Israel's history broke out in the Carmel forest in the Galilee region. Following a visit to the scene by helicopter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Israel has suffered a disaster on a scale we have never seen before.” Thirty thousand citizens from towns and villages in the Carmel hills above the Mediterranean port of Haifa were evacuated. Nearly 10,000 acres of the forest have been destroyed. A bus carrying 50 prison guards on their way to assist with the rescue mission became engulfed in flames, resulting in the death of 40 individuals and serious injuries to the others.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and our overseas partners, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), immediately deployed teams to assess needs and begin relief efforts. JAFI is working with youth movements to open camps for displaced children and is opening shelters for displaced families with up to 1,000 beds. JDC's Emergency Response Team has been activated and is working with local Israeli authorities to monitor the situation, focusing on the most vulnerable, including the elderly.

Israeli president Shimon Peres said, “If there is something we can say, it is that those involved in this difficult event are exhibiting true bravery that symbolizes the holiday of Hanukkah.” The Prime Minister has appealed for international help to battle the blaze. Those who wish to can donate to a special emergency fund. 100% of donations collected will go toward relief efforts. Checks should be sent to the Israel Forest Fire Disaster Relief Fund, and made payable to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, 6101 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852. Funds can also be donated online at this dedicated page.

Additional information including news stories and up-to-date resources can be found by clicking here.

6101 Montrose Rd Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 230-7200 | (301) 230-7265 fax | (301) 230-7260 tty