Russian-speaking oligarchs helping Carmel fire recovery


(JTA) — Major Jewish organizations headed by wealthy Jews in Ukraine and Russia have started campaigns to raise funds for the victims of the Carmel fire.

Alexander Mashkevich, the head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, called for an emergency fundraising drive to help Israel recover while addressing some of the  most prominent Jews in Russia during a Chanukah reception in Moscow.

Maschkevich said the campaign aims to raise “several millions of dollars." He also said that “most important is what the Diaspora, what people outside of Israel feel, when Israel is in pain.”

He also announced a project to bring hundreds of European members of parliament to the Jewish state in February, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Maschkevich had been among the first Diaspora Jewish leaders to arrive in Israel to assess the consequences of the fire and to work with Israeli governmental structures, as well as with the United Israel Appeal-Keren Hayesod.

The Russian Jewish Congress, headed by Yuri Kanner, also announced a campaign to help Israel, and has contributed $18,000 to United Israel Appeal-Keren Hayesod.

In addition, Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, head of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, is scheduled to visit Israel next week to assess the damage caused by the fire before deciding on the amount of aid that Ukrainian Jewry will allocate to Israel, reported

Mikhail Mirilashvili, a St. Petersburg businessman who was elected head of the advisory board of the Israeli volunteer organization ZAKA in February 2010, said he would provide ZAKA with special motorcycles capable of reaching difficult-to-access regions in order to neutralize the blazes.

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