Federations Help Farmers in Israel Get Back on Feet

Jewish Federations of North America have pledged to support the farming communities of Western Negev through grants up to $12.5 million to urgently replace equipment destroyed and looted by Hamas terrorists, allowing them to resume farming in time for the spring planting season. 

Working with ReGrow, a project of Volcani International Partnerships and Mishkei Hanegev, the grant will ensure that farmers and kibbutzim – which have sustained major financial losses -- will be able to rebuild and emerge even stronger than before the October 7 attacks. 

"The Jewish Federations recognize the vital importance of restoring agriculture to the Western Negev after the Hamas attacks and we are proud to be able to play such as significant part in that,” said Rebecca Caspi, senior vice president of Jewish Federations of North America. 

The kibbutzim, moshavim, and independent farms of the western Negev made the desert bloom and have been a source of national and Zionist pride for decades. These farms are the breadbasket of Israel, supplying 75% of Israel’s vegetables, 20% of fruit, and 6.5% of milk, as well as other products. 

“Hamas came to destroy our identity, our community and our agriculture. Our victory is to go back to our fields and make them green again.” said Moran Freibach, head of agriculture and security for Kibbutz Nahal Oz. 

On October 7, as part of their murderous rampage, killing Israelis and foreign workers, Hamas terrorists also targeted and destroyed farm equipment, infrastructure, and farmworkers. Gunmen stole or destroyed everything in their path, from irrigation pipes and computers to tractors and specialized farming vehicles. In invading these communities, Hamas brutally attacked residents, their homes, and the farms that these Israelis worked decades to build. 

This act of agricultural terrorism was aimed at shaking the identity and economy of the western Negev and the food security of Israel. Full resumption of agriculture is essential for the recovery of these communities and Israel’s national security. And this resumption also depends upon the replacement of critical equipment. 

"Jewish Federations have done something remarkable. Not only will the grant lay the foundation for recovery, it sends the most moving message to all our farmers, that they are not alone," said Danielle Abraham, executive director, Volcani International Partnerships. 

"The Israel Emergency Response Committee has identified this initiative as an urgent priority as part of its work in the area of economic relief and rescue, and a central first move to help the communities of the western Negev rebuild following the devastation of October 7,” said Jeff Schoenfeld, co-chair of Jewish Federations’ Israel Emergency Fund.