Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Emergency Support Needed after Massive Arson Attacks in Israel

The Conservative Synagogue in Haifa's prayerbooks after the fire
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The burned prayer books in the Conservative Synagogue "Moriah" in Haifa, Israel this week.

Dear Friends,
I write regarding the recent destruction in Israel, and to offer you three opportunities to give financial assistance to alleviate their suffering and provide for their security.  As we have watched the forest fires in Israel, we are aware that a new front has been opened by terrorist elements against the civilian populations there, and our response is sorely needed.
Here is what we know.  Starting two weeks ago, about a dozen small forest fires were set in the north of Israel by arsonists.  These were small, isolated, and quickly dealt with.  On Wednesday, a major fire was started in Zikhron Ya’akov with the loss of over 30 houses and widespread damage.  On Thursday morning, arsonists set the forest on fire near the Haifa fire station and then in several neighborhoods in the Carmel nearby. Firefighters where overwhelmed as over 500 homes were soon engulfed or endangered.  Over the next day or two, firefighters from around the country, with support from the Palestinian Authority and the international community, found themselves not only fighting in the Carmel, but facing new arsonist attacks outside of Jerusalem as well. In all, over 600 fires were set in 6 days.  More than 10,000 acres of land burned in that week.  2,500 firefighters were operating for 6 days.

At this time massive damage to neighborhoods, transportation infrastructure and firefighting equiptment has been incurred.  Estimates of 5,000,000 NIS have been assessed for the fire fighting equiptment alone.  Due to the amazing dedication and training of the emergency responders, over 75,000 civilians were relocated during the fire and not a single life was lost.  

As Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his comments to the fire fighting community, the terrorists seek to burn trees while we seek to plant trees.  They burn bridged, while we build bridges.

Please consider supporting one or more of the following emergency response efforts:

Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest has opened an emergency fund for disaster relief: click here
The Jewish National Fund has lead the way in purchasing fire and emergency equipment and planting trees for decades.  Their emergency response with a matching gift challenge today “Giving Tuesday” can be found by clicking here.   
The Conservative Movement’s “Moriah” community in Haifa was badly hit, and the building needs to be completely rebuilt and siddurim replace (see picture above): Help raise the $500,000 needed for rebuilding one of our congregations by clicking here.

As always, I thank you for your love of Israel and your compassion and generosity for those in need.

Rabbi Robert L Tobin

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