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JewishJournal.com

July 19, 2012

Jewish organizations raising funds to help victims of the attack in Bulgaria

http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/jewish_organizations_raising_funds_to_help_victims_of_the_attack_in_bulgari

Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Amir Menashe, who was killed in the attack in Bulgaria, in Tel Aviv on July 20. Photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Amir Menashe, who was killed in the attack in Bulgaria, in Tel Aviv on July 20. Photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Jewish organizations are reaching out to help the victims of Wednesday’s terror attack by a suicide bomber in Bulgaria, which killed five Israeli tourists and a bus driver and wounded more than 30 others. To help, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Orthodox Union all are soliciting funds to aid the wounded and the families of those killed.

“It’s very important symbolically for the people of Israel to know and to feel that Jewish organizations around the world are stepping up and thinking of them and participating in this,” said David Siegel, the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles.

The deadly attack took place aboard a bus filled with Israeli tourists in the international airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, a popular tourist destination for Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has named the Iranian terrorist organization of Hezbollah as responsible for the attack.

Of the five Israelis who were killed, two of them were fathers in their 20s with young children. Three people were critically injured, and at least 30 were injured to various degrees, according to Siegel.

The Israeli government has programs to help victims of terrorist attacks and their families, including paying for medical care, disability costs, trauma care and other expenses – but it cannot cover everything, Siegel said. Therefore, organizations are helping to “address supplemental needs not covered by Israeli government bodies,” according to an announcement Thursday from The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Donations to help the victims can be made via the Web sites of the L.A. Federation, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Orthodox Union. Building up a contribution made by the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel is raising funds via its Fund for the Victims of Terror program. Since its founding in 2002, the Fund for the Victims of Terror program has provided financial assistance to Israeli victims of rocket attacks from Gaza.

What Israeli government can provide victims is determined on a case-by-case basis, Siegel said. Non-governmental funding, however, can be used for everything from education costs for families where the primary breadwinner was killed, to burial costs and long-term medical care, according to Jay Sanderson, CEO and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

The L.A. Federation promises to donate “100 percent of collected donations” and “absorb all administrative costs,” according to a statement released today.

“Whatever we can do to make a difference, that’s the approach we are taking,” Sanderson said, adding that the Jewish Agency for Israel will take the lead on administering the funds raised to the victims and their families.

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