Jewish Federations of North America have raised an astonishing $388 million to support Israel in her hour of need, surpassing three-fourths of the $500 million campaign announced just last week.
Already, Jewish Federations have allocated $10 million to 20 organizations providing emergency relief and support in Israel, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, JDC, World ORT, Israel Trauma Coalition, United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom, ZAKA, Barzilai Medical Center, and the Soroka Medical Center.
These funds are being put to a slew of immediate and urgent needs, such as medical care, emergency services, evacuation, transport, housing, supporting victims of terror, trauma relief and psychological support, as well as preparing for medium- and long-term needs. For details, click here.
The announcement follows a gathering of major philanthropists and community leaders in Washington, DC, who also participated in the "Unity in Crisis" event Federations co-hosted alongside the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, AJC, the ADL, among others.
"Amid the horrors of what is happening in Israel, our community is rising up to be a pillar of support in a way I have never seen in my adult life," said Jewish Federations of North America Chair Julie Platt. "From every corner of North America, from every Federation community, we are astonished by the generosity and speed with which people are stepping up to support Israel in her hour of need, whether supporting emergency workers and trauma counselors, hospitals, displaced families, or victims of terror."
"In every generation, we are called upon for action,” said Jewish Federations of North America National Campaign Chair David Heller. Heller introduced Noa, a family friend who survived the Hamas massacre at a music festival in Israel and shared her harrowing tale. "May Noa's words today call our generation to action,” Heller said.
The event, which launched a solidarity mission to Israel that will coincide with President Joe Biden's visit to the Holy Land, featured the top Congressional leaders from both parties and representatives from the administration, each of whom reaffirmed their strong support for Israel.
Leaders sported Blue Ribbons as part of the Federation-led "Blue Ribbons for Israel" campaign to show solidarity with the 199 hostages captured by Hamas and other terrorist groups. Volunteers will flood Capitol Hill tomorrow to deliver ribbons to every office.
“Just as the experiences of our parents, grandparents and ancestors have had lasting impacts on successive generations, so too will the savagery inflicted on Israel and its people reverberate for decades to come, and impact future generations,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, reflecting on his family’s experiences fleeing the Nazis, and noting the alarming rise of antisemitism both at home and abroad. “The grief will not subside soon, the hurt will pass from generation to generation. So to our resolve, our faith, the practice of it, and the values that we have defined this together.”
“If Hamas had its way, it would do to all the Jews what it did to Jews along the Gaza Strip,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the first Jewish Senate Majority Leader in the Senate, vowing to move aid through the Senate even as the House remains without a speaker. Schumer delivered an emotional and chilling comparison of the murders at Kibbutz Be'eri to the killing of his own family in the Holocaust. "If the threat that Hamas has is not eliminated, it will come back again," he added.
"We’re facing a moment that demands moral clarity, this is a time for choosing, and the choice is crystal clear: We must stand with America’s closest ally in the Middle East, with the people of Israel, and with those held hostage by terrorists and with their families, and we must condemn mend barbaric terrorists, their evil sponsors and the legacy of hatred towards Jews that has stained world history for millennia," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "The burden of standing against terror, defending sovereignty, deterring foreign aggression, and condemning hate is not Israel’s alone to bear. Israel’s fight is the fight of the entire civilized world."
House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) recalled that the first call from a world leader he received after an assassination attempt against him in 2017 was from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and vowed to back Israel in its fight against Hamas. "Let me say this clearly: Israel is at war, and America will stand united with Israel and her people's right to defend themselves from these barbaric attack," he said, noting that the first order of business when the House reopens included action to support Israel with 423 co-sponsors showing broad, bipartisan support. "We will be there for Israel, as we always have, to make sure they have the tools they need to defend themselves as these attacks continue, and as they continue to go and fight this war."
“Israel has the unequivocal right to defend itself against Hamas and all of her enemies," House Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told the crowd. "Indeed, Israel has the sovereign responsibility to respond to the terror, respond to the brutality and respond to the atrocities committed against its people. Hamas attacked Israel because Hamas wants to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. So let me be clear. Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, our commitment to Israel's security is ironclad, and the special relationship between the United States is unbreakable."
Photo Credit: Bo Harris