Israel — The Jewish National Fund of the United States wasted no time in beginning its emergency fundraising campaign to rehabilitate the Carmel mountain and its communities, its CEO Russell Robinson told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday by phone as he was touring the site of the fire.
Robinson is here for a whirlwind 48-hour visit with the national chairman to assess the damage and report back.
Weve already raised $1.5m. of the $10m. we have pledged to raise, he said.
Within 24 hours of the fire starting, the JNF had already gotten in gear.
By Friday afternoon, we had arranged a conference call with 640 people. Weve raised $700,000 online alone and another seven to $800,000 through synagogues and individuals, he said.
Im confident we can raise the money. This isnt a political issue. Its the basis of Zionism, rebuilding the land, he added.
Robinson said his first impression was tremendous respect and appreciation for the firefighters who fought the blazes.
The bravery of the firefighters in the face of the immense heat was just amazing. In other places, they would have pulled back and left the communities to burn. Here, they saved the communities, Robinson said.
The JNF will be raising money for all aspects of rehabilitation, he said.
The fire department lost over $1m. in supplies alone fighting the fire. If you have to pull back, you leave hoses behind. So were looking to replace that.
The 67 trucks we had already raised the money for were a godsend, they said, and now they need another 40. Were also looking at what Yemin Orde, Ein Hud and Beit Oren need to rebuild, he said.
Some of the money will also go toward any rehabilitation the nature reserve requires.