For eight days in November 2016, nearly 2,000 fires ravaged communities across Israel. The devastating blazes forced more than 80,000 people to flee, destroyed over 600 homes and damaged hundreds more.
The fires were one of the costliest disasters in Israel’s history—on the financial scale of a major war. Estimates put damage at more than $260 million, and their total cost to the national economy exceeded half a billion dollars.
In response, Jewish Federations collected funds to help address Israelis’ greatest needs and start rebuilding, and our partners played critical roles in aiding recovery. The Jewish Agency gave more than 600 grants to families who lost everything, and helped evacuated seniors find safe temporary housing. JDC helped strengthen Israel's emergency response systems, ensuring that its most vulnerable citizens received help when they needed it, and launched a leadership training program by region for emergency response directors. Federations also worked closely with the Israel Trauma Coalition to provide relief services in the hardest-hit communities to first responders, including firefighters, school counselors, social workers and local emergency teams.
Here are stories of just two of the thousands of families who could not have recovered without your generosity.
After the Fire, the Gift of Family
Finding Heart Amid Tragedy