ISRAEL AT WARCanadian Jewish community raises $100 million CAD to support Israel
ISRAEL AT WAR
Canadian Jewish community raises $100 million CAD to support Israel
This is the largest ever fundraising campaign for Israel organized by the Canadian Jewish community, amid concerns of rising antisemitism in Canada and six confirmed Canadians killed by Hamas.
In the two weeks since Hamas’ October 7th attack on Israel, there has been a massive fundraising effort from Jewish communities around the world to support victims, survivors and displaced communities here in Israel. One of the most impressive successes has been the efforts by the Jewish federations and communities in Canada through the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA (JFC-UIA), which has raised $100 million CAD (300 million NIS) since the start of the war.
This is a considerable amount especially considering how small the Jewish community in Canada is at about 398,000, according to a 2021 census. This is in comparison to the American Jewish community which is approximately 6.3 million strong - the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. The entire Canadian Jewish community could fit into the Jewish population of New York City alone nearly five times, which gives some indication as to how disproportionate Canada’s Jewish community’s fundraising has been relative to its size.
The campaign is to date the largest ever fundraising campaign for Israel organized by the Canadian Jewish community. Prior to, the largest amount raised was $46 million CAD during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. In addition to the remarkable fundraising efforts, there have been numerous rallies and protests hosted in support of Israel all across the country, including one in Ottawa which was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“This has been a tremendous display of togetherness that has crossed Canada both horizontally and vertically across various echelons,” says Sarah Mali, the Director General of JFC-UIA Canada in Israel. She notes that whereas often there are several large donors who contribute to Israeli and Jewish philanthropy, the impact of October 7th has been so profound that people across the board, including many who would never contribute in the past, chose to do so.
Mali cites the deep connections that Canada’s Jews have to Israel and a strong history of Zionism, as among the reasons for this massive funding. “Canada has had an unequivocal connection to Israel. One fifth of Canadian Jews have lived in Israel, 80% of Canadian Jews have been to Israel at least once.” She notes that Canadian Jews are also very impacted by the Holocaust, with a huge number of Canadian Jews being descendants of or themselves Holocaust survivors.
“The pulse of Jewish Canada has been beating with Israel. They aren’t sleeping, they are laser-focused, they are fighting in the most profound sense for the people of Israel. It’s really exponential - it’s touched something,” says Mali.
Mali says that right now the main targets of the funds are supporting victims and survivors of the terror attacks and their families and communities, including respite for displaced persons, trauma response and treatment. This is an addition to supporting everything from emergency kits to rebuilding infrastructure in southern communities.
As Canada’s Jewish community has been raising money for Israel, they have also been grappling with their own concerns at home, with rising rates of antisemitism and threats of attacks following this latest war. This was acknowledged by the prime minister himself, who said at a conference on antisemitism that, "Since this conflict broke out, there has been a very scary rise of antisemitism here at home.” Trudeau cited rising reports of threats and hate crimes against Jewish institutions including schools and synagogues across Canada since the war broke out.
There were also numerous rallies held across various cities celebrating Hamas’ attack on October 7th, which has caused Jewish Canadians to feel tremendous fear and discomfort. “They are managing a struggle on multiple fronts as they also need to look after their own security,” says Mali.
Following Hamas’ brutal surprise attack on October 7th that left 1,400 murdered and over 200 taken hostage, six Canadians have been confirmed to have been killed during Hamas’ attack: Shir Georgy, Adi Vital-Kaploun, Alexandre Look, Netta Epstein, Tiferet Lapidot and Ben Mizrachi. There are also Canadians who are believed to be among the hostages taken by Hamas including well-known peace activist Vivian Silver of Kibbutz Be’eri who was born in Winnipeg.
You can donate to the campaign here.