Update: May 14, 2023

Dear Friends,
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) took effect at 10:00pm Israel Time on Saturday night. So far, it seems to be holding. Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said, "Quiet will be answered with quiet. (But) if Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do everything it needs to do in order to defend itself.”
As of Sunday morning, many Home Front Command restrictions in Israel have been lifted.  Life was beginning to return to normal, although schools remained closed in the area close to the Gazan border.
Over the course of five days of fighting, more than 1,200 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. At least 220 of these failed to cross into Israel; they landed in Palestinian territory. While many of the rockets that did cross into Israel landed in unpopulated areas, Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system successfully shot down 373 rockets – accounting for more than 91% of those headed towards civilian population centers. (See here for dramatic photos of Iron Dome knocking a PIJ rocket from the sky).
Despite the high success rates for Iron Dome, a number of rockets did strike their intended targets, hitting numerous buildings and killing two people (an elderly Israeli woman in Rehovot an  a Palestinian laborer working in Israel’s south). At least 69 civilians have also been wounded in Israel. Twenty-seven of those people suffered physical injuries--one of them seriously and four of them moderately--from shrapnel and broken glass as a result of rocket impacts. See here for a graph of rocket fire.
In response, Israel struck 371 PIJ terror targets in Gaza, killing six significant Islamic Jihad leaders. A seventh senior leader who was targeted, Muhammed Abu al-Ata, managed to escape an airstrike, and has since operated from within a Gazan hospital. (See here for more on PIJ activities inside population centers). According to the IDF, Israel has killed 18 Islamic Jihad operatives, and sadly, at least 10 Palestinian civilians.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claims that the death toll is 33, but this number includes Gazans who were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets that landed inside the Strip. (See here for an infographic on rockets falling short of the border.) Israel has repeatedly stated that it does everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties. Israeli leaders have expressed profound regret at the loss of life.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reiterated the US administration’s “enduring commitment to Israel’s security,” and “strongly condemned the indiscriminate launch of rockets into Israel from Gaza-based terrorist groups, which endangers the welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
See here for an analysis piece by The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon on how the routine nature of the Gaza-Israel rounds of conflict “is both a problem and a source of comfort,” for Israelis.
Jewish Federations’ partners, including The Jewish Agency for Israel, JDC, and the Israel Trauma Coalition, are addressing needs on the ground. Earlier today, Jewish Federation representatives accompanied Jewish Agency officials on a visit of the building that was struck in Rehovot. We remain in close contact with the Israeli government, our partners, and others to monitor the situation. We will continue to update as needed.
Rebecca Caspi
Senior Vice President Israel and Overseas
Director General, Israel Office



The JFNA Israel office in Jerusalem represents the Federation movement in Israel, serves as the main Federation connection to the Israeli government and liaises with Federation-funded partner agencies working in Israel and around the world. The office provides Federations with the latest information and policy analysis of relevant issues and critical information that guides our overseas work and investments. It also supports missions that help inspire and inform Federation leaders about the movement’s work abroad. The offices also connects Israeli leaders and government officials with the North American community, deepening their awareness and knowledge of its breadth and depth. View Hebrew directory of North American Jewish organizations.





The Federation portfolio in Israel is widespread and diverse. It includes working with our partners to ensure that every Jew who wants to live in Israel can, funding programs that help provide equal access to economic and educational opportunities, and supporting initiatives that encourage religious diversity and social equality.





JFNA’s Jerusalem office is also Federations’ hub for supporting Jews around the world. Our network provides critical humanitarian and economic assistance in times of crisis, from the 2014 conflict with Gaza that threatened millions of Israelis to the ongoing strife in Ukraine that’s affected tens of thousands of Jews. Federation also plays an important ongoing role in providing an array of life-sustaining services to needy elderly and vulnerable jews while supporting the revitalization of Jewish life, especially in communities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that were decimated by the Holocaust and driven underground by Communism. Our partners fund camps, community centers and educational and leadership development programs that support a renaissance of global Jewish life.





For more information on JFNA’s work in Israel and overseas, please contact our Israel office at israeloverseas@jewishfederations.org or call 011-972-2-620-2020.


Update: May 12, 2023



Dear Friends,
Despite the optimism in yesterday morning's update that a ceasefire was likely, within a few hours Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired multiple barrages of rockets at Israeli population centers, killing one civilian in the city of Rehovot and injuring others. The rocket attacks continued for a number of hours.  While overnight only sporadic rocket-fire took place, a number of launches remain underway at the time of writing. There is wide-spread speculation that this may be a final volley before a formal ceasefire begins.
In the early evening hours yesterday, a particularly intense round of rocket fire from Gaza caused millions of Israelis to run to shelters, including in major cities in the country’s center, such as Tel Aviv and Rishon Letzion. In an apparent malfunction of the Iron Dome defense system (see details here), one rocket hit an apartment building in the city of Rehovot that did not have its own shelters. One person was killed, nine others were injured, and the building suffered major damage. See further details here and here.
So far, more than 880 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza during Operation Shield and Arrow, now entering its fourth day. Of these, some 672 crossed the border from Palestinian territories into Israel, with the rest falling short, or landing in the sea. Iron Dome has been activated 260 times, and has had a 91% success rate during the current operation. See here for a PIJ-produced video of a rocket being launched. 12 Israelis have been wounded as a result of the rocket fire and thousands more are suffering from various forms of trauma. Millions have had their lives interrupted. See here for an article about one family’s life under fire.
Meanwhile the IDF continued to strike PIJ military targets, and says that the terrorist organization has suffered a major blow, including losing many of its top commanders. In total, 170 terror targets have been hit. See here for a video of the IDF striking a PIJ military post and here for footage of a strike on a mobile rocket launcher. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza says that 31 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since fighting began. According to the IDF, at least four Palestinians have been killed, including children, as a result of failed rocket launches from Gaza. See further details here.
According to media reports, strong efforts are still underway to finalize a formal ceasefire, under Egyptian mediation. In an indication of the country’s willingness to de-escalate, Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that “quiet will be met with quiet.” See more here.
Jewish Federations’ partners, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, JDC, and the Israel Trauma Coalition, are addressing needs on the ground. The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror is providing immediate financial support to families whose homes were directly hit by rocket fire and is helping them with urgent needs. In addition to aid provided by the Government of Israel, the fund also grants supplementary aid to families affected by rocket fire, assists with rehabilitation needs, and addresses the needs of children and families dealing with post-traumatic stress. The Fund, which operates thanks to donations from Jewish Federations and others, was established 20 years ago and to date has supported 9,000 families affected by terrorist incidents and rocket fire, with grants totaling $20 million. Since the beginning of this year, the Fund has awarded grants to the residents of the Gaza border and victims of terror attacks totaling $220,000, and has also run special camps for approximately 350 children and teenagers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), another Federation partner, reports that close to 60% of residents living near the Gaza border have temporarily left their homes and are staying in areas further away from the conflict. ITC says the number of calls to trauma help lines have more than doubled in recent days, with the city of Sderot seeing the highest number of calls, by far. ITC says that the majority of the calls come from parents looking for advice as to how to calm their children. Due to the security situation, most trauma care is taking place over Zoom, but professionals visit homes in person where rockets have fallen within close proximity.
Jewish Federations of North America remain in close contact with the Israeli government, our partners, and others to monitor the situation. We will continue to update as needed.
Meanwhile, we are hoping for a quiet weekend here in Israel, and wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom.
Rebecca Caspi
Senior Vice President Israel and Overseas
Director General, Israel Office

Update: March 27, 2023



Jewish Organizations Welcome Suspension of Judicial Overhaul Legislation
In response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that he would delay a vote on judicial reforms in order to seek compromise, the Jewish Federations of North America released the following statement alongside the Conference of Presidents, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Committee.
“We welcome the Israeli government’s suspension of legislative consideration of judicial reform measures.
“The last three months have been painful to watch and yet a textbook case of democracy in action. We respect the political leaders, business executives, community activists, cultural figures, and ordinary Israelis who took to the streets, exercising their love of country, and their passion for democracy.
“As a next step, we encourage all Knesset factions, coalition and opposition alike, to use this time to build a consensus that includes the broad support of Israeli civil society.
“Israel’s political leaders must insist on a more respectful tone and debate. A hallmark of democracy is public consensus and mutual consideration.
“The Conference of Presidents, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Federations of North America will continue to confer with Israel’s governmental and civic leaders to ensure that the views of American Jewry are represented in the discussion. We are confident the resilience of Israeli democracy will successfully overcome the tremendous challenges it faces.”

Update: February 1, 2022

Jewish Federations strongly condemn Amnesty’s "apartheid" report
Jewish Federations of North America President and CEO Eric Fingerhut released the following statement regarding Amnesty International UK's report on Israel:

"Jewish Federations strongly condemn Amnesty International UK’s report that promulgates false claims against the Jewish state, irresponsibly distorts international law, and advances hateful and disparaging rhetoric associated with age-old antisemitic tropes, while ignoring or whitewashing violence, terror and incitement committed by Palestinians.

"This report is the latest in a litany of anti-Israel propaganda that has contributed to a rise in hate crimes against Jewish communities around the world and continues to embolden extremist currents that threaten all minority groups.

"Jewish Federations call upon the human rights community to condemn this disparaging and falsely painted report and stand up for truth and justice."

Update: May 20, 2021



I want to be sure you are kept up to date with the flow of information and tools from JFNA about the situation in Israel.  Please feel free to share this social post on facebook.  Our colleagues in Israel have shared the latest from Israel, which you can see here.  Additional resources are constantly being updated and can be found here.  

Thank you,

Mandy Kaiser-Blueth
Director, Professional and Community Outreach
National Women’s Philanthropy, JFNA
C: 917-887-1601
E: mandy.kaiser-blueth@jewishfederatons.org 


Update: May 19, 2021

Dear Friends,

Please see this comprehensive update on what is happening in Israel at the moment, prepared by our Israel office, including links to videos and other information.

Feel free to share this update, and these additional related materials, with your community.

Best wishes,

Rebecca Caspi
Director General, Israel Office
Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas

Update: May 14, 2021

Dear Friends,

Once again, it’s been a day and night of ongoing violence in Israel, with massive onslaughts of rockets from Gaza on the country’s major population centers.

As we go into Shabbat, followed by Shavuot here in Israel, I am sending you now a shorter-than-usual update of the main events currently taking place.

You can view today's update as well as recent materials including webinar recordings in our Israel Crisis 2021 resource roundup here.

Wishing everyone a quiet Shabbat and Shavuot, and praying for peace,

Rebecca Caspi
Director General, Israel Office
Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas

Update: May 13, 2021

Dear Friends,

As the third day of fighting in Israel continues, JFNA’s Israel office has once again prepared this update and background on the latest of what is going on. Please feel free to share.

As always, we continue to monitor the situation closely and will send further updates as needed.

I’d also like to remind you of a webinar we are holding today:


Today, Thursday, May 13 from 12:00 - 12:30PM Eastern
Join former Member of Knesset and expert in international law, Michal Cotler-Wunsh as she addresses the questions "What are the causes behind the current flare-up of violence in Israel? What's really going on in Jerusalem and Gaza?"



After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Hoping for quieter times,


Rebecca Caspi
Director General, Israel Office
Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas

Update: May 10, 2021


Dear Friends,

As many of you will have seen, there has been considerable violence taking place in Jerusalem in recent days, and JFNA’s Israel office has prepared this update and background on what has occurred.


As always, we continue to monitor the situation closely and will send further updates as needed.



Here’s hoping for quieter times,



Rebecca Caspi
Director General,
Israel Office Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas