North American Jewry has raised $1 billion for Israel during war, scholars estimate

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

North American Jewry has raised about $1 billion for Israel during its war with Hamas, the authors of a new report on this subject estimate.

The Jewish Federations of North America raised more than $600 million for Israel within a single month of the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel, says the report published yesterday, which is titled “Stand United — US Jewry and Israel During the First Month of the War” and was authored by scholars at the University of Haifa’s Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies.

The remaining $400 million figure is an estimation of donations raised in multiple campaigns by other communal and private organizations with a Jewish affiliation, including friendship associations supporting Israeli hospitals, universities and emergency services, David Barak-Gorodetsky, director of the Ruderman Program, tells The Times of Israel.

The $602 million raised by the Jewish Federations of North America and its constituent member organizations exceeds their $500 million goal, which they announced at the start of the fundraising campaign in the very beginning of the war on October 7, when 3,000 Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,200 Israelis in a brutal cross border raid and took 240 hostages.

These figures amount to an “unprecedented contribution,” states the 71-page report. The $602 million raised by the federations in October 2023 represents a 70% increase over the Federations’ second-largest campaign for Israel in recent years, which occurred during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

(Adjusted for inflation, the $360 million raised in 2006 is equivalent to $540 million in 2023. The $350 million raised by Jewish Federations for Israel during the Second Intifada in 2002 is equivalent to about $595 million in 2023.)

In addition to raising funds, North American Jewish communities’ vigorous and ongoing public advocacy response includes 143 solidarity rallies held across North American in the first month of the war alone, the report’s authors write.

The war is changing the internal dynamics of North American Jewry, the report adds. “Just as the war has united Israeli society — or at least reduced the debate on divisions in it – so has the American-Jewish public rallied around the common cause, according to many conversations we’ve had,” the authors write.

They cite the proliferation of joint prayer events across denominations and the sidelining of criticism of Israel on both sides of the conservative-liberal ideological divide.

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