Jewish Community Aids Victims of Cameroon Volcanic Gas Leak

Lester Pollack, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York (JCRC), presented a check for $5,000 to Tommo Monthe, charge d’affaires at the Cameroon Mission to the United Nations, to help the surviving victims of the volcanic gas leak in that country which killed an estimated 1,500 people.

Pollack pointed out that the Council was spear-heading a fund-raising drive in the Jewish and the general community for relief funds to purchase desperately needed supplies and medicines to aid those remaining in the stricken area.

Pollack, speaking on behalf of the JCRC’s 61 member organizations in the metropolitan area, carried a message of compassion on behalf of the New York Jewish community. “The Jewish people worldwide,” Pollack told Monthe, “identify with your grief during these trying times and we in New York are prepared to offer whatever assistance we can render.”

While presenting the initial donation to the relief effort, Pollack said that he hoped that “this humanitarian gesture would serve as a catalyst for additional charitable acts designed to help the Cameroon people” during this period of crisis.

At the 30-minute meeting, Pollack, who was joined by JCRC executive director Malcolm Hoenlein and Assistant Executive Director Michael Miller, also praised Cameroon President Paul Biya for restoring diplomatic relations with Israel. “The historic visit of Israeli Prime Minister Peres to Yaounde marks a turning point in relations between Israel and Black Africa,” Pollack stated.

“We are confident that the Judeo-Christian tradition shared by these two nations will serve as the foundation for the beginning of a long-term relationship and a commitment to sharing mutual cares and concerns.” Pollack pointed to Israeli doctors and field hospitals at the disaster site as reflecting the common interests and relationship of Cameroon and Israel.

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