As you know, on October 7, 2023, Hamas carried out the deadliest one-day attack on Jews since the Holocaust.
With 120,000 Holocaust survivors and almost one hundred Claims Conference staff living in Israel, the attacks bring the organization particularly close to the daily and hourly events.
The incredibly dedicated and committed Claims Conference staff in Israel are working remotely to ensure the continuation of our programs and critical services, which serve as a lifeline to so many survivors. All functions of the Claims Conference are continuing uninterrupted. Further, we have been in touch with our partner organizations, namely agencies, government, and institutions in Israel. We will do all we can to ensure that our partners are able to do their critical work as best they can during these difficult times.
The Claims Conference has set aside ILS 30 million, approximately $7.5 million USD which will be directed to the needs of Holocaust survivors in Israel to help address the unique challenges that they face in coping with this extremely difficult environment.
There are approximately 5,000 Holocaust survivors who are resident in the area around Gaza, including Ashkelon. We have set up an emergency call center, and staff are making outbound calls to these survivors, who are being asked if they need any emergency services. Some of them have been evacuated to other parts of Israel and need supplies for regular daily activities, such as clothing. As Ashkelon has such a large population, people there have not been evacuated but have been under frequent rocket fire. Elderly have been confined to their homes and need basic supplies. So far, of those we have spoken with, approximately 1/3 have asked for help. Overwhelmingly, the requested aid is food, which we are providing.
Thus far, the following three initial grants have been made:
The Claims Conference will continue to work to address the needs on the ground for survivors and partners.
President, Claims Conference
Executive Vice President, Claims Conference