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Sony Pictures Takes on Northern Restoration as a Cause

Donates $50,000 Towards Effort in Israel

Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 •

Pr sony 2 October 10, 2006-- New York, NY -- Concerned with the environmental impact the war with Hezbollah had on northern Israel, Sony Pictures Entertainment sought ways to respond financially. They found the vehicle they were looking for in Jewish National-Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and at last week’s overseas premiere of their new movie, “Open Season” -- an animated feature that tells the story of a bear and a deer who become friends and help protect the forest and its wildlife --Sony representatives presented a $50,000 check to JNF-KKL to be used toward restoring the north after this summer’s war with Hezbollah.

Sony chose to support JNF’s northern renewal project in recognition of the fact that JNFis a non-governmental organization that makes an important contribution to the environment.

Rami Ganor, JNF Israeli emissary in Los Angeles, and Ehud Danoch, Israel ’s consul general, helped make the connection. Sony is also donating $25,000 to the Red Cross in Lebanon.

Sony 1The movie premiered at the Haifa International Film Festival; 500 children from the north were invited as Sony’s guests.

“After the war in the north was over, I could not stop thinking about the trauma that the people had experienced and how we could express our appreciation for their brave stand,” said Yair Landau, vice president of Sony Pictures Entertainment, who produced the movie and devised its ecologically-oriented story line along with writer Penny Finkelman. “Along with our contribution, we decided to hold the first international premiere of ‘Open Season’ here in Haifa as part of the Haifa International Film Festival, and to invite children of the north as our guests.”

“This is a real expression of citizens taking responsibility for social needs,” said Dr. Omri Bonneh, director of JNF-KKL’s northern region, who accepted the check. “We want to restore the Galilee as quickly as possible, but it will take time. We have identified three fields of activities that Sony’s contribution will help finance: ecological restoration of the burnt forests, restoration and upgrading of the tourist infrastructure, and the strengthening of the cooperation with the communities in the near vicinity of the forests and parks. This is not a one-time event, but the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing expression of the love and support we feel for the residents of the north.”

Said Finkelman: “Sony had the technology, and I formed a team to work on the story we wanted the movie to tell. We hope that the children seeing the movie will develop a greater appreciation of the need for all the Earth’s inhabitants to live together in harmony. It is very moving to share this with children who have recently suffered such a traumatic experience.” 

This past summer with Hezbollah rockets raining down on northern Israel, JNF raised more than $5 million through Operation Security Blanket. With those dollars, nearly 10,000 children cooped up in bomb shelters were sent to summer camps in central Israel away from the rocket attacks and emergency firefighting equipment and fire trucks were bought to help fight the forest fires that destroyed more than two million trees.

With the war over, the focus has shifted away from crisis towards long term partnership. Operation Northern Renewal, JNF’s 10-year, $400 million campaign to make the north home again, will focus on reforestation; upgrading parks and recreation sites; developing tourism; preparing land for agriculture and providing research and development; working on preparedness (more fire trucks, accessible hydrants and equipment storage); the purchase of a firefighting airplane; year-round camps for children; a housing loan program to encourage families to move to the north; funding of Hugey Sayarut, Israel’s elite youth movement; and volunteer activities.

Operation Northern Renewal complements Blueprint Negev, JNF’s $600 million, 10-year campaign to develop the Negev esert and make it home to an additional 500,000 people.

Captions: Top Right: "Open Season," Sony Pictures Entertainment's new animated feature that tells the story of a bear and a deer who become friends and help protect the forest and its wildlife, premiered at the Haifa International Film Festival last week.

Bottom: From left to right: Yair Landau, vice president of Sony Pictures Entertainment; Mr. Matalon, Israel representative of Sony Pictures; and Dr. Omri Bonneh, director of JNF-KKL's northern region.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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