B’nai B’rith has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is opening its Israel Emergency Fund to provide aid to the victims of the devastating fires raging in Israel. The fires began last week and spread throughout northern Israel, and especially in and around Haifa. Other fires have also reached cities near Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate, and many of them have lost their homes and businesses.
At this time, no loss of life is reported.
Several countries, including the United States, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine, have sent firefighters and equipment to Israel’s aid, and B’nai B’rith thanks them for their efforts to fight these fires. The Palestinian Authority has also contributed firefighters in the effort to combat the fires.
According to the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli government, some of these fires are believed to have been arson. The IDF has arrested about 25 suspects.
Incitement on social media in relation to these fires is particularly disturbing, with some supporting these so-called “pyro-terrorists” using the hashtag #israelisburning to take glee in the fires and their destruction.
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem will use its vast resources and contacts to determine the greatest need for relief efforts.
The Israel Emergency Fund most recently opened in 2014 following renewed Hamas rocket attacks. The fund was opened to help in the wake of the devastating Mt. Carmel fires. In other cases, funds were used to buy computers, electronic equipment and inflatable playgrounds to help improve the lives of those confined in bomb shelters during Hamas rocket offensives, and to purchase upgraded communications equipment for firefighters.
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Donations can be received by mail at:
B’nai B’rith Israel Emergency Fund
B’nai B’rith International
1120 20th St. NW, Suite 300 North
Washington, D.C. 20036
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