The recent wildfires in Israel caused an estimated $520 million in property damages, injured hundreds of citizens, and caused tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes as flames were approaching. Fortunately, no deaths were linked to the fires, but at least 600 homes and some 32,000 acres of natural woodlands were destroyed.
To help meet the huge needs, The Fellowship launched an emergency telephone hotline, which operated in Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian. The hotline provided the elderly and new immigrants details about where they could find help and give volunteers a way to offer their help. The Fellowship also sent text messages to over 1,400 new immigrants who we helped move to Israel in recent months, alerting them about emergency services.
During the height of the wildfires, when families were being forced from their homes by the approaching flames, The Fellowship distributed hundreds of food and clothing cards to those most in need. Totaling more than $20,000, the vouchers were given to 234 people to help their families who lost everything in the blaze.
Assistance The Fellowship has provided in past crises proved helpful during the recent fires as well. In the wake of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and the deadly 2010 Carmel Forest fires around Haifa, The Fellowship donated $1 million to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital to establish a situation room for officials to coordinate rapid responses to emergencies. While the room has not yet officially opened, the hospital treated more than 70 people there and emergency response workers used the facility to coordinate firefighting and rescue activities.
Since the 2010 fires, The Fellowship has also donated 12 firefighting trucks to Haifa and other areas, four of them specially equipped to work in forested areas, and all of them were used to help fight the ongoing blazes.
“Thanks to millions of our Christian supporters around the world, The Fellowship was able to rapidly deploy critical resources to help the most vulnerable and to battle these terrible fires,” Rabbi Eckstein said. We are truly grateful for the lifesaving prayers and support we receive from our Fellowship friends every day.