Montreal’s Jewish community has proud relationship with Israel

Photo: JFNA

Photo: JFNA

“Though Israel is surrounded by enemies, we have one thing that no other country in the world has: family abroad that is committed to ensuring our existence,” says Ron, 22. He has had the opportunity to meet many Montrealers who visit Beer Sheva, where he has lived his whole life. “It has taught me that the Jewish family is global. Our city benefits so much from the projects that exist because of how generous Montrealers are.” When he went through a difficult time as a teenager, Ron had the advantage of programs that provided him with a mentor and gave him the necessary encouragement to stay in school. After graduation, when he thought he would have to leave home to make a living, he succeeded in finding a job through the Start-up employment initiative. Today, he is confident of building a successful future in the Negev.

Israelis barely had time to celebrate their declaration of independence and recognition by the United Nations in 1948 when the new state was attacked by its neighbours. Since then, they have known few peaceful interludes. Surrounded by states that refuse to recognize its right to exist, Israel is constantly at a heightened state of alert and always in peril.

The international Jewish community, still reeling from the catastrophe of the Holocaust, immediately came to Israel’s aid with funding and support. We have stood together in solidarity with Israel ever since, helping it to withstand crises and strengthen itself in the face of a dangerous future.

Because the concept of Jewish responsibility extends to our entire extended family, Montrealers have been quick to express their support for Israel:

  • when faced with all-out war, as in 1967 and 1973;
  • when terrorists launched the first and second Intifadas, in 1988 and 2000;
  • when Hezbollah aggression resulted in the Second Lebanon War of 2006;
  • when Hamas rocket fire from Gaza placed an insufferable burden on the civilian population of Sderot and the western Negev.

Federation CJA embarked on Israel Emergency Campaigns to raise money for immediate relief when civilian populations were in jeopardy in 2002 and 2006. It also created a special Sderot Relief Fund in 2008 when rocket barrages landed on the city with particular intensity. Millions of dollars were donated, which helped to repair damaged infrastructure, provide children with respite in safe regions, and to help with trauma counselling.

As strong as Israel has proven to be, its existence remains precarious because of the intransigence of its enemies and the worldwide movement to delegitimize its sovereignty.

Combined Jewish Appeal stands with Israel because our destinies are intertwined. The strength of Diaspora Jewish communities would diminish without a strong Israel, and Israel needs our the support of Jews around the world.

For more information about the Federation’s relationship with Israel, contact the Israel & Overseas Committee at 514.345.2645, ext. 3292.