UJA's Israel Wildfire Emergency Campaign Report

Our commitment

For the last 68 years, United Jewish Appeal has been a leader in strengthening Israel and its people. We have worked in collaboration with municipalities, private foundations, philanthropists and government organizations creating solution-based strategies to make real change in the country.
At the end of November 2016, we watched in horror as hundreds of wildfires raged throughout Israel.  Some of the fires were started by accident but others were set deliberately, intended to cause widespread damage and panic. Over 80,000 people from Haifa, Zichron Ya’akov and the Greater Jerusalem Area were eventually evacuated. The destruction was overwhelming with 30,000 dunams of forest lost and 133 people injured.

The Response

United Jewish Appeal mobilized quickly as the fires continued to burn, sending out an immediate appeal for help. With great generosity, our community raised $102,000 toward rebuilding after the fires.  Through our partner agencies on the ground in Israel here is where the money went:

Jewish Agency for Israel 

  • The creation of an emergency information desk in Haifa. The desk is staffed by Jewish Agency professionals and volunteers who continue to assist those in need and provide them with timely information. 
  • The distribution of emergency grants of $1,000. These grants went to families whose homes were entirely destroyed or have been deemed structurally unfit for inhabitance. These grants enabled victims to purchase supplies such as clothing, food, medication, and medical equipment in the immediate aftermath
  • An allocation of funds to the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC). The ITC provided trauma relief at the Carmel Hospital and at the evacuation centers, and they offered backup to existing welfare teams in Haifa. The municipality in Haifa requested further assistance from ITC in providing direct care to some 1,800 individuals in the city, 20 emergency welfare teams, and 8 evacuated institutions. Similar requests for assistance have come in from Zichron Ya’akov and Halamish.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) 

  • The JDC provided targeted support for residents to recover physically and emotionally from the damage caused by the fires and to quickly adjust to their new reality. JDC is identifying additional support services to meet the needs as they are assessed, including temporary respite if needed.
  • Real time crisis help for seniors and people with disabilities. 
  • Strengthening Response and Preparedness Systems – In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the residents affected by the fires.

Zichron Ya’acov pre-school

A pre-school in Zichron Ya’acov was damaged and funds went to help in its restoration. The investment in the pre-school was made thanks to a special fundraising effort by the students and staff of Bialik Hebrew Day School.


Your Generosity

Thank you for your compassionate and generous support during this time of crisis in Israel.  You were part of a global campaign that raised $1,118,784 toward the renewal of the urban areas most severely hit by the fires, the most perfect illustration of the talmudic saying: Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh: or all the people of Israel are responsible for one another.


Our partners



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