You, as I, have read in the past days of the horrific outbreak of literally hundreds of forest fires in Israel, destroying not alone 1000's of acres of forest lands, but the homes and workplaces of so many of our families; 60,000 Israelis have taken flight according to the report in The Times of Israel on our Thanksgiving Day. 60,000 Israelis: the equivalent of 2,400,000 Americans fleeing the most catastrophic forest fires, many apparently are the scourge of arsonists/terrorists, ever eager to strike Israel.
It seems fair to ask whether there are still millions left in the JFNA Victims of Terror Fund created out of the donations to federations in the last Special Campaigns. If there are millions unspent, and inasmuch as terrorists appear to have set many of these fires, then those funds should be immediately allocated to the victims of this eco-terrorism. The Times of Israel has reported that countries unfriendly to Israel -- among them Russia and Turkey, -- and those among Israel's friends -- France, Egypt and Jordan -- have sent physical assistance -- firefighting equipment and personnel, among other things -- to Israel. A private U.S. company dispatched a 747 Supertanker to aid in fighting these fires. Even the PA assisted. The New York Times reported that while the fires burned, Israel was asking for more assistance. www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/world/middleeast/israel-fires.html But our Continental organization appeared to be...well, fiddling.
Now it appears that the major fires may have been contained, but the devastation left behind represents a continuing tragedy for Israel's citizens; for our extended mishpacha. As the Prime Minister explained to Israel's citizens, the fires will not "...be out today; and not tomorrow." And, as always, JFNA under what passes for its "leadership" remains more cautious than it has been for domestic weather emergencies. We all know what UJA would have done under these dire circumstances, don't we? It would have reached for a playbook, it would have mobilized and it would have acted. JFNA opened a Mailbox five days after the fire began.** https://fedweb.fedwebpreview.org/emergency-funds/israel-fire-emergency-fund
Was 25 Broadway waiting for an on the scene report from its bloated Israel Office? Has 25 Broadway recruited and mobilized a lay-led Solidarity Mission? Is JFNA demanding, at this time of Draconian declining core allocations -- reaching the lowest levels in history -- that JAFI and JDC reallocate resources to meet these emergency needs? Maybe someday we will find out. Or is 25 Broadway waiting, waiting, waiting, for some form of green light from its largest Dues payers? JFNA opened a Mailbox and published a report from David Brown, Chair, Israel and Overseas, restating what others were/are doing.*
But, really, there is nothing that explains the delay in doing something beyond another Mailbox...nothing.
One day after this destruction began, the JNF announced a Special Campaign offering a dollar for dollar match. And JFNA you ask? It was able to rouse itself to do what it always does...JFNA opened a Mailbox.
We hang our heads in shame.
* The Chicago Federation has already advanced $500,000 to JFNA "...for immediate distribution to JAFI and JDC." No doubt many, many federations are doing their share. NB, were Chicago's $500,000 part of a fair share effort, of which Chicago's share would be about $500,000, that would yield a national total of $5 million -- but that goal would be (a) non-binding and (b) require a real campaign leadership effort from JFNA. The evidence suggests that most communities will be seeking contributions rather than advancing funds.
** ...and a Web Page