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Israel Plans $1M Aid Package For Houston Jews

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry is advancing a plan to send $1 million in emergency aid to Houston’s flood-hit Jewish community.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett announced the plan Monday, calling it “unprecedented.” His office said the money would go toward repairing and rebuilding local schools, synagogues and Jewish community centers damaged by tropical storm Harvey.

“The Jewish State is measured by its response when our brothers around the world are in crisis,” Bennett said in a statement. “For years the Jewish communities stood by Israel when it needed their help; now it is our turn to stand by Houston’s Jewish community.”

Bennett said the plan would be finalized in “the next few days” and presented for Cabinet approval first thing next week. The money would be transferred through Israel’s consulate in Houston.

Harvey, which made landfall in southeast Texas 10 days ago, caused massive flooding in Houston and small surrounding towns, killing dozens of people and displacing tens of thousands.

Houston’s Jewish community was particularly hard hit. The local Jewish Federation last week said 71 percent of the city’s more than 60,000 Jews, including 12,000 seniors, live in areas that were flooded. Some of their houses were submerged in as much as eight feet of water, she said.

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