Direct Relief Commits $1 Million in Emergency Cash Assistance to Israel



The border area in Metulla, Israel, on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Direct Relief today committed $1 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in Israel after the horrific terror attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,000 people.

Funding will be provided to Israeli organizations providing emergency health and social services, several of which have requested assistance to secure needed health and medical essentials.

This commitment follows an initial grant announced this week to the Ashkelon Foundation, a nonprofit focused on health and well-being in southern Israel near the border with Gaza.

The foundation is supporting Barzilai Medical Center, a 600-bed hospital that received 250 patients in the first 12 hours of the attack, fifty of whom were in critical condition. Medical staff continue caring for the influx of patients, even as rocket attacks have shaken the hospital, shattering windows in the children’s ward.

In addition to the $1 million in cash assistance, Direct Relief has offered its extensive medical inventories and other resources, including international logistics assistance needed to mobilize additional medications or medical commodities to assist with the crisis in Israel.

The following five Israeli organizations will each receive a $200K grant for their efforts to serve Israel’s diverse population:

  • Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): A century-old establishment, JDC is known for its global disaster responses. It aims to support hospitals in Israel to deal with the ongoing crisis.
  • Magen David Adom (MDA): Founded in 1930, MDA serves as Israel’s principal organization for disaster relief, blood services, and ambulance transportation.
  • NATAL: With over two decades in trauma treatment, NATAL provides invaluable support to those affected by traumatic incidents.
  • United Hatzalah: Israel’s largest volunteer organization, United Hatzalah, offers quick emergency medical services nationwide. 
  • ZAKA: Recognized by the UN, ZAKA Search and Rescue provides swift assistance during mass casualty situations globally and has paramedics ready throughout Israel.

In response to the heinous attack on its people, Israel declared war on Hamas on Sunday, launching retaliatory airstrikes targeting the designated terrorist organization in Gaza and imposing a blockade of Gaza.

To address inquiries about its potential response to the humanitarian ripple effects of the terrorist attack on Israel, Direct Relief notes that the blockade resulting from the terrorist attack has interrupted the long-established channels through which humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza under the supervision and control of Israeli authorities. It is through these approved channels that Direct Relief has provided extensive ongoing humanitarian health assistance in recent years, consistent with the requirements of U.S. sanctions law and with the consent and formal approval of Israeli authorities.

When authorized humanitarian channels are reestablished to help innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire, Direct Relief is prepared to assist through partner organizations such as Anera, a U.S. nonprofit organization with which Direct Relief has long partnered and has an extensive record of providing humanitarian aid in Gaza, the West Bank, and regionally.

Direct Relief will continue to extend assistance to people victimized by this unconscionable act of violence and respond to specific requests as they arise while monitoring the situation closely.

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