Donors to JNF-USA help Israel fight its fires


A fire station in the northern Jewish-Arab city of Ma’alot Tarshiha donated by Penny and Stephen Rosen of Brooklyn Heights has continued to keep Israelis safe as fires raged in Israel’s north over the weekend. Twenty-six fire crews responded to the large-scale brushfire in the Hacienda Forest while over one hundred houses were evacuated.

The Rosens, who recently relocated to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, donated the state-of-the-art fire station through Jewish National Fund-USA in memory of their late son, Adam.

“We are saddened to hear of another fire in the Hacienda forest,” said Penny Rosen, JNF-USA Fire and Rescue Task Force co-chair. “However, we are also proud that the fire and rescue station that my husband, Stephen, and I built in our beloved son Adam’s memory was in place to respond. These devastating fires are a stark reminder as to why we need to keep building and helping equip as many areas in Israel as possible with modern firefighting equipment.”

Alon Mazar, spokesperson for Israel’s Fire and Rescue Authority, added that summer is not necessarily the peak time for fires.

“Spring and fall are in fact the most dangerous times of year for the rapid spread of fires,” he said. “For example, in 2010 we had the Carmel disaster, and again in 2016 the Carmel region had another major fire. Then in 2019 we had large fires in Mevo Modiin.”

He pointed out that these fires raged in May, November, and December, “characterized by winds coming in from the east, strong winds that do not come from the sea, eastern winds from the interior of the country characterized as dry and strong. It is enough to turn a small fire into a major catastrophic event.”

“Thanks to Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA), we have the equipment that we need to reduce our response time to fires as well as the tools to effectively fight fires,” said Head of Security for Israel’s Eshkol Region, Ilan Isaacson.

Although the cooler months have arrived, JNF-USA donors and lay leaders are continuing to attract philanthropic support for Israel’s fire fighters. Through its Fire and Rescue Task Force, the organization has been a primary partner to the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, outfitting Israel’s firefighters with state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment such as oxygen tanks and fire-retardant suits, firefighting vehicles, and fire station facilities. 

The organization has also invested in enhancing and rebuilding Israel’s Volunteer Fire Fighter program, which trains and provides safety equipment and gear to volunteers who serve as the first line of defense in the remote communities of Northern and Southern Israel that are difficult for authorities to reach in times of emergency.