update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Israel finalizes $1 million donation to hurricane-ravaged Houston Jewry

“In the past, Jews helped the State of Israel when it was in need,” said Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennet in a video message. “Now, Israel can help the Jews.”

Flood damage from Hurricane Harvey at United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston. Credit: Robert Levy via Facebook.
Flood damage from Hurricane Harvey at United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston. Credit: Robert Levy via Facebook.

The Israeli government has finalized a $1 million donation to the hurricane-ravaged Jewish community of Houston following last year’s flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett said in a video message: “Tough times are … when us Jews show our unity; they are an opportunity to rally and help one another.”

“I instructed the Israeli government to transfer $1 million to the Jewish community in Houston because we are brothers, and we care,” he said. “We did this simply because it is the right thing to do.”

Bennett’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry had stated last September that it was “advancing a plan” for the $1 million in aid for Houston Jewry. On Tuesday, Israel’s Consul General to the Southwest Gilad Katz and leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston will sign an agreement for the funds to be distributed among a number of community institutions that were damaged in the storm.

While Houston experience widespread flooding due to Hurricane Harvey, its Jewish community was hit particularly hard, as 71 percent of the city’s more than 60,000 Jews live in areas that were  heavily flooded. The hurricane damaged three of Houston’s largest synagogues, as well as a JCC, a senior-care center and a Jewish day school.

“In the past, Jews helped the State of Israel when it was in need,” said Bennet. “Now, Israel can help the Jews.”

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