Italy’s Jewish community pledges aid to areas hit by earthquake


ROME (JTA) – Italy’s umbrella Jewish organization and the Rome Jewish community have set up a blood donation center to aid victims of the deadly earthquake that hit central Italy early Wednesday morning.

Noemi Di Segni, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, issued a statement saying Italy’s Jews expressed full solidarity with the quake victims and were ready to mobilize “in a concrete and immediate way to confront the current state of emergency.”

The blood center initiative was organized in collaboration with the Jewish Medical Association and an association of Jewish blood donors.

The 6.2 magnitude temblor, followed by numerous aftershocks, devastated towns and villages and killed more than 20 people in a mountainous region about 85 miles northeast of Rome. There are no Jewish communities in the affected region.

After a deadly earthquake hit the town of L’Aquila in 2009, the Italian Jewish community launched an appeal to its members for aid and offered the services of the Jewish hospital in Rome and other health facilities.

Also Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to the people of Italy over the victims of the earthquake and wished a quick recovery for the injured. He offered search and rescue assistance to his Italian counterpart, Prime Minister Mateo Renzi.

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