Amid Growing Tensions in Northern Israel, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Partners with Chicago Jewish Federation to Increase Support for Druze Villages

February 22, 2024

CHICAGO (February 22, 2024) – As the threat of war on Israel’s northern border grows, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) announced its partnership with the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) to bolster support of Druze villages in the region.

In the coming weeks, more than $135,000 worth of civil defense equipment will be distributed to rapid response teams in Druze communities, including protective vests, tactical helmets, and other defense tools to protect people in the event of terrorist attacks and war.

Safwan Marich, The Fellowship’s Director of Safety and Emergency Response explained, “We have seen significant gaps when it comes to addressing the civil defense needs of the Druze community. Therefore, we are working to ensure a better and safer quality of life within the Druze villages throughout northern Israel.”

Ofer Bavly, Director General of JUF’s Israel office and Vice President at JUF, welcomed this partnership with The Fellowship saying, “We appreciate this opportunity to work alongside The Fellowship in ways that will directly assist Druze communities at this particularly important and tense time.”

The support is the latest in a series of large-scale allocations by The Fellowship for Israeli border communities since the beginning of the war. These funds, amounting to more than $22 million to date, have provided equipment for first responders, armored vehicles, mobile bomb shelters, and other critical needs for local communities in the line of fire.

Noting the more than 40-year mission of The Fellowship as a bridge-building organization, Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein said, “For many years, we have invested in Israel’s security infrastructure, a commitment which has increased significantly since October 7.

“We take great pride in our close collaborations with the Druze community, which continues to stand proudly with Israel on and off the battlefield.  We view this commitment as both a great honor and a responsibility to those who have given so much for our nation. We are deeply grateful to JUF and our supporters around the world for sharing their commitment to this project and helping us bring it to fruition.”

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