JERUSALEM — The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel, will help more than 2 million people in 2020. The announcement comes as a year marked by a global pandemic and unprecedented strain on healthcare systems and economies around the world draws to a close.
“No one could have anticipated the challenges and hardship 2020 would bring,” said Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of The Fellowship. “We are used to responding to crises in Israel, but we’ve never encountered something on this global scale. Humbly, I can say that thanks to our supporters we were able to rise to the occasion. Whenever the most basic needs must be met, we are the partner that Israel and Jewish communities around the world know they can trust.”
During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, The Fellowship joined with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Latet, another Israeli humanitarian organization, to provide emergency aid to tens of thousands of elderly people. This led to the creation of a $20 million emergency fund and an ongoing partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Welfare to distribute emergency aid to all 256 municipalities in the nation.
The Fellowship also maintained its aliyah (immigration to Israel) program, despite numerous challenges due to border closures and quarantines. This included coordinating multiple connecting flights from nations like Brazil and Peru to supporting olim (new immigrants) who were stranded in their countries of origin until borders reopened. In 2020 alone, The Fellowship will help more than 4,000 olim make aliyah from 30 different countries including France, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Mexico.
Yael Eckstein noted that The Fellowship’s supporters are the key to its continued success. “It’s remarkable that specifically during this crisis, as the coronavirus emergency directly affected our supporters in a tangible way, they only increased their aid for suffering Jews in Israel and the former Soviet Union. They have proven time and again that they are committed to prayerfully supporting Israel, but this year they reminded us in such a powerful way just how deep that commitment really is. I am so personally inspired and humbled by the support of each and every generous donor who made this possible.”
“Even when they are facing their own public health and economic crisis, our partners continue to show their love for Israel’s people in acts of great compassion and generosity. The Jewish people cannot ask for better friends than that. The Fellowship is proud to represent these dedicated Christian friends for Israel and be their ‘boots on the ground’ to deliver the lifesaving aid.”