Deadly Fire in Israel
December 4, 2010
Dear Fellowship Friend,
My heart is truly broken as I write this evening about the deadly fire that has erupted in northern Israel near Haifa and in the Carmel valley, west of Galilee and just south of Lebanon. The flames consumed thousands of acres and, most tragically, took 42 lives by the most recent count. The fire is still raging at this time. God forbid that any more people will be killed attempting to fight or flee the flames!
The Fellowship immediately went into emergency operation the moment this disaster struck. Early reports from evacuees in shelters indicated a desperate need for food and water, along with baby food and even diapers, since people had only minutes to escape their homes with their lives and nothing else. Because of your faithful support, we were quickly on the front lines rushing aid to fire victims.
And now today, as the nation of Israel mourns, I take great comfort in knowing that steadfast Fellowship friends like you are praying and standing watch with us! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the prayers I already sense for me, and for the Fellowship staff both in Canada and Jerusalem, as we organize a massive relief and restoration effort. God bless you also for praying for the thousands of people displaced by the fire, and for the brave first responders who are battling the blaze.
Thousands of our friends are asking how they can help, and I know you will be ready to respond when the needs are more fully known. Here in Israel the Sabbath is just ending, so authorities are learning more about the damage that has been done, the loss and disruption of lives and property, and the horrible destruction of forest lands. Clearly, the needs of fire victims will continue long after the immediate necessities are provided and they are able to return to what will be, in countless cases, only ashes of what used to be their homes and lives.
We are all greatly saddened by this tragedy, the worst and deadliest fire in Israel’s history. But we must move on and provide all the aid we can even amid our tears. Please pray that God will continue to comfort the afflicted and console those who mourn the loss of friends and loved ones. Indeed, you and other faithful Guardians of Israel are a comfort to many in the Holy Land, including relief agencies who know they can call on The Fellowship for both immediate and long-term assistance.
I continue to ask for and need your prayers as I direct The Fellowship’s response to Israel’s deadly fire. May God comfort those who mourn in Zion, and also give you His shalom, His peace.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Chairman, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada