The wave of fires across Israel, many of them deliberately sparked by arsonists targeting Jewish communities, have left hundreds of families homeless, fleeing for their lives, often with little more than the clothes on their backs.
With the blazes finally extinguished on Sunday, however, Israelis now begin the difficult task of rebuilding after the disastrous week.
For those who lost their homes, their property, and in some cases their livelihoods, the challenge appears daunting.
Fortunately, however, the victims of the wave of arsons and wildfires are not alone.
Israelis from all walks of life, along with supporters from around the world, are gearing up to help the firestorm victims recover from the devastating losses they suffered.
Across the country, the Bikur V’Ezrat Cholim and Saad V’Marpe organizations are aiding residents displaced by the fires, helping them make arrangements for shelter, food, and clothing. Other groups are providing food to the newly homeless, including Yad Ezra V’Shulamit.
A number of other organizations have also begun raising funds to help those who lost everything. The Chesed Fund, a crowdsourcing group which aids Israelis in need, has opened a special campaign dedicated to those affected by the fires, as has StandWithUS, which pledges to forward 100% of donations to help the victims in Israel.
Some of the help has been at the community-level, with friends and neighbors pitching in financially and to raise money both at home and abroad.
In the town of Talmon, for instance, in Samaria, where the Sarousi and Barrett families, with seven and six children respectively, lost everything, the community is already halfway towards its fundraising goal to get the two families back on their feet.
In the Binyamin region town of Neve Tzuf (also known as Halamish), where Arab arsonists destroyed the homes of 20 families and damaged 40 more, a similar fundraising campaign has been launched.
A similar fund has been opened for residents of Zichron Yaakov with MOED (donors are asked to specify that their donations are for the recent fire victims).
Volunteer firefighter groups in Israel, which helped contain and extinguish the blazes, are also in need of help. After five days of intensive efforts, much of the Shomer HaChadash’s resources have been expended fighting fires in 20 locations across northern Israel, Jerusalem, and the Negev.