American Jewry raised $1 billion for Israel in first month of war, scholars say

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Participants hold up signs at the March for Israel rally organized by the Jewish Federations of North America on November 14, 2023 on the National Mall in Washington. (Daryl Perry)

By: Canaan Lidor  Published: December 14, 2023

The Jewish Federations of North America is responsible for $602 million and the rest came from various groups and friendship associations, the Ruderman Program researchers estimate

North American Jewry raised about $1 billion for Israel in the first month of its war with Hamas, the authors of a new report estimated.

The Jewish Federations of North America raised more than $600 million for Israel within a month of the outbreak of war, according to the report by scholars at Haifa University’s Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies published Wednesday.

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, told The Times of Israel Thursday.

The $602 million raised by the Jewish Federations of North America and its constituent member organizations exceeded their $500 million goal, which they had announced at the start of the fundraising campaign immediately after October 7, when 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists murdered some 1,200 people across southern Israel, most of them civilians slaughtered amid brutal atrocities including executions, burnings and rapes.

The sums raised amount to an “unprecedented contribution,” stated the 71-page report, titled “Stand United — U.S. Jewry and Israel During the First Month of the War.”

The $602 million raised by the Federations in the first month of the war represents a 70 percent 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.)

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Julie and Marc Platt listen at a session of the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America on April 24, 2023. (Courtesy: JFNA)

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

The war is changing the internal dynamics of North American Jewry, the report added.

“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 said.

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