American Jews' Support for Israel Shows in Donation Totals
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
August 11, 2006 -- New York, NY -- Responding immediately to the crisis in Israel, on the afternoon of Friday, July 14, Jewish National Fund (JNF) launched Operation Security Blanket, its emergency campaign for Israel.
To date, $4.2 million dollars has been raised through JNF’s website and regional offices. The money is being used to:
Online donations alone have topped $665,000 and the number of first-time online gifts is 2,554. Interestingly, the average online donation, usually about $50, is $179 in this campaign.
Russell Robinson, JNF’s Chief Executive Officer, attributes the campaign’s success to two factors: relevancy and technology.
“People are getting news of the crisis delivered daily into their homes through TV and the internet,” said Robinson. “They see the pictures of children in bomb shelters and of the fires raging in the north. We are giving them a vehicle to help directly and it allows them to really feel they are partners with their brethren in Israel. They are seeing a war that is directly affecting human life and Operation Security Blanket is enabling them to respond exactly to what they’re seeing. They see the kids hovering in bomb shelters and know their dollars are giving them respite and air; they see the firefighters battling the blazes and know their dollars are helping put out those fires.
“As for technology,” said Robinson, “thanks to the internet we were able to reach 280,000 people in seconds and get the message out. We have since kept them informed in a quick and efficient manner and daily updates are available on our blog -- http://support.jnf.org/. The internet also allows people to easily forward information to their spheres of influence and that has increased our exposure tremendously.
“We are finding that the American Jewish community’s connection to Israel is stronger than ever before,” he said, “and this campaign is about everyone. Donations range from $18 to $100,000 and the ability to give online has allowed us to reach the younger generation as well.”
Operation Security Blanket also saw the trial launch of JNF’s new online tribute capability. Tribute pages allow people to honor or memorialize a loved one by raising money online while inviting others to join in the tribute. The page can include a photo and paragraph on the person; a guest book allows participants to share their thoughts. The Marla Bennett Fund, created in memory of Marla Bennett who was killed in a terrorist attack at Hebrew University on July 31, 2002, had an original goal of $20,000. To date, it has raised more than $26,000 and donations are still coming in.
Art Silber, a Florida resident and treasurer of JNF, who was in Haifa, Israel at the start of the crisis and spent time in a bomb shelter and drove through eerily empty streets, said: “There is no way we here in America can understand what it's like to be there, to hear a siren, to feel fear, to hear an explosion. What we're doing here really means a lot to them over there and I have been involved with JNF a long time and I really appreciate being able to say that.”
“As far as the importance, the significance of what we're doing with Operation Security Blanket,” said Long Island resident Stephen Wolnek, a JNF vice president, “it’s vital. In this type of situation, instead of seeing kids cowering in bomb shelters, they're smiling and relieved. The camps are very much appreciated and needed.”
Said Sharon Barhom, a resident of Kibbutz Malkiyya on the Lebanese border: “JNF is doing holy work.”
For more information on Operation Security Blanket, please visit www.jnf.org
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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 www.jnf.org.