One million dollars of relief aid from the Diaspora Ministry will be distributed among the Jewish community of Houston, as part of its long rehabilitation process in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
An agreement was set to be signed between the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and the State of Israel this week for the transfer of the funds, which were pledged by Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett in September in the wake of the devastating tropical storm.
“Tough times are also when us Jews show our unity,” Bennett said in a video message sent to the community ahead of the signing.
“They are an opportunity to rally and help one another. I instructed the Israeli government to transfer $1m. to the Jewish community in Houston because we are brothers, and we care. We did this simply because it is the right thing to do.”
According to Bennett, this is the first time Israel has sent such support to Jews hit by a natural disaster.
“In the past, Jews helped the State of Israel when it was in need. Now, Israel can help the Jews. I look forward to the day the JCC and the old-age home, the synagogues and schools, are completely restored and refurbished.”
The signing was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but due to logistical complications, it was postponed until Wednesday or Thursday.
Consul-General to Southwest United States Gilad Katz was set to sign the deal with the leaders of the Federation in Houston, according to which the funds will be distributed among community institutions that were severely damaged by the storm.
Hurricane Harvey was the costliest US disaster of 2017, inflicting approximately $125 billion in damage, mainly from widespread flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. Seventy percent of the Houston Jewish community lived in the flooded neighborhoods and many were subsequently pushed out of their homes, and the Jewish retirement home, synagogues, schools and the JCC were among the buildings damaged, affecting hundreds of Jewish families.