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Special Alert: Worst Fire in Israel’s History

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

December 2, 2010, New York, NY -- Jewish National Fund (JNF) mourns the lives lost today in a fire that is raging across Israel’s Carmel mountain region, already called the worst fire in the history of the State by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Forty prison wardens en route to the Damon Prison to help evacuate the prisoners burned to death in a bus caught up in the Carmel forest fires. 

The devastating fire, which has been harder to combat owing to severe drought and aging firefighting equipment, is being fought by Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services and JNF-KKL foresters.

Rescue teams and equipment are being brought in from all over the country. All 1,550 of Israel's firefighters have been called up north to fight the fires along with all available equipment.

“This disaster represents a fire of unprecedented proportions for the people of Israel and presents an enormous challenge for Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services,” said Shimon Romach, Israel’s Fire Commissioner. “While we are strongly committed to confronting this with all our country’s available resources, the scope of this incident means our rescue services are in need of support from the international community at this time.”

As all forests in Israel are urban forests and abut either large cities or small villages, the lives, homes, and livelihoods of Israel’s citizens are always at risk. Already, thousands of dunams of forests have been consumed by the flames.

JNF has responded with an emergency campaign to raise funds for firefighting equipment at JNF is also holding a conference call tomorrow at noon to update its donors on the situation.

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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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