By Scott M. Feltman
Executive Director, One Israel Fund
Last week Israel was bombarded by one of the worst snowstorms on record. Over 20 inches of snow fell over a four-day period—an enormous amount for any community, but all the more so for a country which views any snow as an anomaly.
Motorists were stranded in cars; homes were without water, electricity, and phone service; and roads were completely closed. While the pictures of Israel were beautiful, covered in a blanket of white, the reality was quite the opposite for thousands. Some people sought shelter and weren’t reunited with loved ones for as many as four days.
One Israel Fund is predominantly known for its work in supporting the communities throughout Judea and Samaria. This includes highly sophisticated preventive security equipment to prevent terror attacks and emergency medical equipment to save lives in the event of such an occurrence. It also helps with communal needs, such as building schools, playgrounds, yeshivot, synagogues, mikvaot, and community centers to keep them strong while providing subsidies for those in need.
Sometimes, equipment which is supplied for one purpose ultimately is used for totally unforeseen circumstances. During the storm, the Megillot Search and Rescue Team, which had just recently returned from a rescue mission in the Philippines after its massive storm, was pushed into action. This award-winning team of first responders, located in the Jordan Valley, is a highly trained team of experts in the field of disaster rescues. As the storm raged, the team responded in their newly refurbished 4×4 ambulance. It had been refitted with all-terrain tires and other enhancements a week earlier through One Israel Fund’s Ambulance Refurbishing Project. This was done to help them respond to the constant terror attacks throughout the region, as much of the terrain is impassable by normal vehicles. Little did we know that this refurbishment would become one of incredible importance during the storm one week later.
As Marc Prowisor, director of security projects, described the situation in an e-mail to supporters of One Israel Fund, “Yesterday, I received a call from the Megillot Search and Rescue Team’s representative, Gabi Bar-Sheshis, telling me proudly how ‘due to the recent refitting of their ambulance for tough terrain, their ambulance was called into Jerusalem and was directly responsible for saving the lives of over ten people. This was simply because many of the other ambulances in and around Jerusalem could not make it through the snow.’ He called and asked me to ‘thank each and every supporter of One Israel Fund for having the foresight to provide the equipment needed to save lives and for doing it before the need arises.’”
Other One Israel Fund security equipment such as tactical searchlights and our TacSight Portable Thermal Cameras—equipment which has been predominantly used in thwarting terrorist attacks—were also instrumental in permitting first responders to locate and rescue stranded motorists whose cars careened off the roads. The Civilian Emergency Response Teams (CERT) throughout Judea and Samaria are commonly thrust into action to stave off attacks and save lives. This time, the attack was not due to Arab incursions but to a wintry blast the likes of which Israelis had never seen. We at One Israel Fund are proud to fortify these teams and give them the equipment and training necessary so they are always prepared for whatever is needed.
One Israel Fund is proud to serve as the premier organization in the U.S. which provides for the needs of those living throughout the entirety of Israel—with a specific emphasis on filling the gaps which are conspicuously lacking in the Biblical Heartland Communities of Judea and Samaria. To learn more, visit www.oneisraelfund.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. v