On Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will kick-start a campaign calling for American Jews to help rebuild the north of Israel after the war. The Prime Minister will appear live via satellite to 100 locations across the US in an attempt to raise $300 million.
The campaign is headed by the United Jewish Communities (UJC) which includes 150 federations and 400 communities across the United States. The Prime Minister will personally call on all Jews in the US to come and help with the rebuilding of the north. In a letter sent to the leadership of the UJC, Olmert mentioned that more than a million citizens were the target of Hizballah’s rockets and missiles. “Many innocent lives were taken, and there extensive damage to infrastructure, agriculture, industry, tourism, and small businesses. The government is making every effort to assist those who were hurt by this situation. With your help, and the assistance of the Jewish Agency and the Joint, we will take upon ourselves to rebuild and rehabilitate the north,” the letter said.
The UJC is sending former Prime Minister Ehud Barak on an extensive tour of four major cities in the US: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. Barak will lead the fundraising campaign and will convene meetings with potential donors.
Nachman Shai, Executive Director of UJC Israel, said that the rate of donations of American Jews is similar in scope and is reminiscent of other campaigns conducted during past wars and times of crisis in the country’s history.