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Actor Elliott Gould Helps Israel's Burnt Carmel

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

January 11, 2011 – New York, NY – Famed American actor Elliott Gould is taking to the radio waves and lending his voice and his heart, asking Americans to support Jewish National Fund (JNF) and help re-green Israel’s Carmel forest region in the wake of last month’s disastrous fires.

Best known for playing Trapper John in Robert Altman’s satirical 1970 film MASH, the actor said, “I have a very deep Jewish identity and when I was asked if I would do this, I immediately said yes. Israel is a beautiful country – both inside and out – and if my time and name can help bring back some of what was lost, then that’s gratifying to me.”

In addition to Gould, Center City Film & Video is donating time to record the spots, Neff and Associates wrote and directed the spot, and CBS Radio in Philadelphia has generously donated free air time.

The wildfire that began on December 2 near the Druze village of Ussifya, south of Haifa, was the worst in Israel’s history.  For more than 82 hours, 100-foot flames spread rapidly across the Carmel Mountain Range, fanned by extremely strong eastern winds and dry conditions brought on by months of drought.  Forty-four people lost their lives, more than 17,000 residents were evacuated, and hundreds of homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

The ecological toll was no less staggering. An estimated 5.4 million trees burned in the fire and thousands of animals were killed; those that managed to escape returned to a destroyed habitat. The area of destruction, which includes both natural woodlands and planted forests, is equal to about a third of the entire Carmel Forest reserve.

As soon as the magnitude of the fire became clear, JNF launched Operation Carmel Renewal: From Black to Green, an emergency fundraising campaign to repair the vast environmental damage to the Carmel and provide firefighters with much-needed equipment and supplies. To date, $4 million has been raised in support of this effort.

It is thanks to JNF Philadelphia board member David Dinenberg that Gould is involved. “What a wonderful experience it was working with William Morris Endeavor, especially Ari Greenberg and Mr. Gould’s agent Tim Curtis," said Dinenberg. "Without their help, as well as the help of the others, this never would have happened.  I am proud to be part of a group effort that is acting for the greater good."

For information or to make a donation, visit www.jnf.org/carmel.

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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.

 

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In Israel the most precious commodity is water and it is at risk. Find out how you can help.

 

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