For the past several days, hundreds of fires have raged across Israel’s north and in the Jerusalem hills. Damage has been widespread and some 180 people are reported injured, mainly due to smoke inhalation. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and many hundreds have been left homeless.

In Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and San Francisco’s sister city, at least 60,000 residents have been evacuated and 2,000 buildings have been damaged, with a large number of those rendered uninhabitable. There are an estimated 1,600 Haifa residents now homeless.

Additionally, Israel’s Parks Authority reports that about 32,000 acres of natural forest land have burned. Overall, close to 2,500 firefighters have fought an unprecedented 480 blazes across Israel over a 5-day period.

Our Federation is working with our partners on the ground in Israel to assess and begin to meet urgent and emerging needs. If you would like to donate to the Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Fire Emergency Fund, you can do so here.

If there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it is that all Israelis —- Jews and Arabs alike —- have come together to combat the fires and provide assistance to those affected (which includes Israelis of all backgrounds). The outpouring of solidarity and help for Israelis has crossed every category of ethnicity and religion. This is the Israel we know and love, and the one that we work every day to strengthen.

In solidarity,
Danny Grossman
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund