AS FIRES RAGE ACROSS ISRAEL, US CHRISTIANS PROVIDE EMERGENCY AID
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews launches disaster hotline, helps evacuate people in path of devastating fires, provides food and clothing
JERUSALEM, Nov. 25 – Supported by millions of U.S. Christians, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is mobilizing to fight the fires raging across Israel, providing emergency services and assistance to residents around Haifa, Jerusalem and other areas in harm’s way.
The Fellowship has launched an emergency telephone hotline (at *9779), operating in Arabic, Hebrew and Russian, providing the elderly and new immigrants details about seeking help and giving volunteers a way to offer their help. The hotline has already received dozens of calls from people seeking assistance. Meanwhile, The Fellowship has sent text messages to over 1,400 new immigrants whom it helped recently move to Israel, to alert them about emergency services, and offering its support to the national emergency services agency.
The Fellowship is also stepping in to provide critical material aid to the most vulnerable residents evacuated from their homes due to the fires – the elderly and new immigrants. Initially The Fellowship provided 200 vouchers each for food and clothing worth $50 apiece and will provide more as needed.
The Elbaz family, who recently moved to Israel from France with three young children, lost their home and all their belongings in fires that burned the northern town of Zichron Yaakov this week. The Fellowship provided the family $550 for clothing and $750 for food. “You're the first ones to come to us and you've helped us significantly,” Oliver Elbaz told The Fellowship. “We thank you from the bottom of our heart.”
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 has already treated more than 70 people there and emergency response workers are using 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 are being used to help fight the ongoing blazes.
“Thanks to millions of our Christian supporters around the world, The Fellowship has been able to rapidly deploy critical resources to help the most vulnerable and to battle these terrible fires, said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president.
“We were fortunate to have been able to respond to and learn from the challenges of 2006 and 2010, allowing us today to quickly provide a range of life-saving resources for people in harm’s way. Today, The Fellowship and our supporters stand ready to do whatever we can to help the people of Israel overcome this crisis.”
About The Fellowship:
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces in helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide – and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.3 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Seoul, and Sao Paulo. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
For further details, contact: Ryan Greiss, Puder PR, New York: (212) 558-9400; [email protected]