Israel Needs Your Help: Forest Fire Devastates Haifa

December 3, 2010

Israel needs your help. The worst fire in the nation’s history erupted yesterday from the forests of the Carmel in Haifa.

International aid from Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece was offered almost immediately to help quench the flames as Israel’s resources were quickly depleted.

As of early Friday morning, Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters updated:

More than 15,000 residents evacuated, flames near Haifa. Mass evacuation continues into night as fire ranges in northern Israel, thousands of Haifa residents ordered to leave homes. At least 40 dead; casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War.

Here’s How You Can Help

Jewish National Fund (JNF)

The Jewish National Fund has established a Forest Fire Emergency Campaign.

Here’s how your donations can help- and keep in mind here how many of our physical resources were lost in the fire and that Israeli firefighting sources will need extensive funds to recuperate from the loss of equipment:

  • $100- Hose
  • $500- Helmet
  • $1,000- Hose Nozzle
  • $5,000- Masks and Tanks
  • $7,500- Camera
  • $10,000- Equipment
  • $50,000- ARV
  • $125,000- Fire Truck

The JNF has also organized an international conference call on Friday, December 3rd for 12:00 EST with CEO Russell Robinson and several of their chief executive officers, as well as Shimon Romach, Chief of the Israel Firefighters, and Tim Tidewell, US Chief of the Forest Service. Click here to register and log-in information will be sent to you.

Note also JNF’s projects to Help Alleviate Israel’s Water CrisisForest Management and Fire Prevention, and Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters. You can learn more about them here.

— Keep Reading: Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross), JGooders, Role of Social Media in Breaking News —

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Israeli Philanthropy: Planned Galilee Medical School May Change the Way We Think About Giving to Israel

December 20, 2007

It’s Israel’s academic version of “Survivor” and there can only be one winner.

In Israel, the stakes are high for the establishment of a new medical school in the Galilee with Bar Ilan University and the University of Haifa competing for sponsorship.

But there’s more– the new medical school will likely be created in tandem with a university town, introducing Israeli philanthropy to an unprecedented marriage of academia, business, and entrepreneurship.

BarIlanUniversity Logo

All sources place Bar Ilan as the front runner for its public relations campaign and potential donors. Neither Bar Ilan or the University of Haifa have medical schools, although Haifa and the Technion have a prestigious nursing partnership. Bar Ilan, the University of Haifa, and the Weizmann Institute are the only three public universities in Israel without medical schools.

Why a New Medical School?

The impetus for the new medical school sources from the estimate that by 2015, Israel will be facing a shortage of doctors. In recent years, Israel’s medical profession has been buoyed by Russian immigration, with a high percentage of new immigrants arriving as licensed doctors in their own countries.

While the existing university medical schools claim that there is no need for another one– which they say would create unnecessary competition and tax medical resources– this argument appears laughable when you look at the loud evidence to the contrary.

The Ministry of Health recommends doubling the number of new medical professionals entering the field each year, increasing the number to 600 doctors and 800 nurses. Gabi Ben Nun, Director General of the Ministry of Health states, “It takes seven years to fully train a physician and four to train a nurse, that is why we must take action now.”

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Favorite Israel Donation: Honoring the Memory of Fallen Soldiers

August 10, 2007


One of my favorite acts of philanthropy this year was from Younes and Soraya Nazarian who donated one year scholarships to students at the University of Haifa in honor of each soldier killed in the Second Lebanon War.

As the University of Haifa is known as “the University of the North,” it was the obvious and most appropriate destination for such a commemoration. Each of the 119 scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to be in touch with the family for whom their scholarship is named.

Younes and Soraya Nazarian were recognized by the University of Haifa with honorary doctorate degrees for their dedication and visionary leadership to Israel and Jewish causes, including major support for libraries and cultural institutions.

In an emotional ceremony with families of the fallen soldiers in attendance, Mr. Nazarian asked that each scholarship recipient take on the role of surrogate child by keeping in touch with the families and visiting them regularly.

The Nazarians, who are leaders in the Los Angles Persian Jewish community, also gave $7 million to the University of Haifa for reconstruction of its library, the second largest in Israel.

On the occasion of the scholarship launch, Mr. Nazarian stated:

“This memorial combines two issues that are very dear to my heart and that, in my opinion, are at the top of Israel’s priorities: IDF soldiers and officers on the one hand and education, especially higher education, on the other hand.”