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Jewish National Fund-USA fire trucks on frontlines in Israel’s north

Israel’s firefighters are being tested like never before as the country’s north is set ablaze by Hezbollah “terror rockets.”

Firefighters in Israel's north extinguish a border blaze. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority.
Firefighters in Israel's north extinguish a border blaze. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority.

Thirty Jewish National Fund-USA-supported firefighting crews are battling raging fires in northern Israel caused by Hezbollah rockets as temperatures exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit. They join 10 crews supported by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael–Jewish National Fund.

Since the beginning of 2024, a combined area equivalent to 16 times the size of New York’s Central Park has been burnt. Last week, as many as 96 fires broke out in 24 hours. In addition, the elevated threat of attacks from Hezbollah means that aerial water bombers, one of the most effective methods of fighting brush fires, cannot be used.

Nissan Zeavi from the Kfar Giladi Emergency Response Team said the situation was dire.

“Following the firing of [Hezbollah] rockets and drones, fires broke out in the north,” he said. “Here in Kfar Giladi, we saw the fires getting closer to us. We understood that if the fires came closer, they would enter our kibbutz. Last night, the emergency response teams of Kiryat Shmona, Margalit, Kfar Giladi, Misgav Am, and Metula saved the Galilee from burning.”

Since 2006, Jewish National Fund-USA has raised over $15.8 million in support of Israel’s firefighters and provided more than 200 fire trucks. Since Oct. 7, the organization has provided $6.5 million in support for emergency operations, including fire and rescue activities.

This week, multiple firefighting crews from the Galil-Golan station, supported by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, were engaged for hours in combating a wildfire on the outskirts of Metula. The blaze, which erupted in an open area, was reportedly triggered by mortar fire from Hezbollah based in Lebanon.

Senior firefighter sergeant in northern Israel, Kobi Malka, commanding the operation, provided an update: “Through concentrated efforts, our teams have successfully prevented the fire from encroaching on the town’s orchards. We are now focusing on extinguishing the flames, which have spread across multiple fronts.”

In the first half of 2024, a total of 18 new full-sized fire trucks will be commissioned for service. Each costing $250,000, these vehicles will be stationed in the Negev, Galilee and Gaza Envelope regions.

A firefighter checks on a field that was set ablaze in northern Israel by Hezbollah rocket fire from Southern Lebanon. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority.

“Communities in Israel’s north must have the resources and support to fight fires wherever they may be,” said Jewish National Fund-USA’s Fire and Rescue Task Force chair, Penny Rosen. “I want everyone in Israel’s north to know they are not alone. We will never give up on them. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them not through words but through actions represented by our philanthropic investments.”

First responders and emergency workers require state-of-the-art equipment and protective gear to carry out their life-saving missions. From breathing apparatuses, helmets, gloves and glasses to drones, thermal cameras, rescue tools and firefighting suits, having the right equipment makes all the difference in their effectiveness. Jewish National Fund-USA is committed to fulfilling these evolving equipment needs, ensuring our heroes are well-prepared to tackle emergencies across the Negev and Galilee.

To support firefighting efforts in Israel, visit: jnf.org/firefighting or contact Sara Hefez at shefez@jnf.org or 617-423-0999, Ext. 811.

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Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
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