On Saturday, Oct. 7, Hamas attacked Israel by launching thousands of rockets, followed shortly after by militants crossing into Israel. Hamas infiltrated multiple Israeli towns, capturing both civilians and military personnel. Israel responded with rocket strikes targeting the blockaded Gaza Strip. More than 3,000 people have been killed and more than 7,000 people have been wounded in the conflict so far. An estimated 123,000 people have been displaced due to the destruction of apartments, homes, and refugee camps.
Unscrupulous charities sometimes use disasters and humanitarian crises as a money grab to raise funds for unrelated causes. CharityWatch has created a list of charities that will spend your donations in a responsible manner. CharityWatch, a nonprofit, is the only independent charity watchdog in the United States. The organization conducts independent research and analysis, reviewing audited financial statements, tax filings, state solicitation filings, and other information to determine how efficiently a charity will use donations. Charity Watch examines what specific aid is being provided to victims before adding an organization to its list of recommended charities to donate to in order to support victims in Israel and Gaza.
According to CharityWatch, particularly after natural disasters, charities with no expertise or experience in providing disaster aid come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the generosity of vulnerable donors. Even well-meaning charities may end up siphoning donations away from more experienced, skilled, and staffed charities. Give to charities that know what they are doing in a crisis and have existing infrastructure in place to efficiently and effectively distribute emergency aid to victims.
Following are CharityWatch’s top-rated charities providing aid to people in Israel and Gaza. These charities spend at least 75% of their cash budgets on programs, maintain fundraising efficiency of $25 or less to raise each $100 in cash donations, and meet CharityWatch’s governance and transparency benchmarks:
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee – The committee has activated its emergency response team and protocols across Israel. In the south of the country, the organization has widespread, existing operations and programs providing support to those directly impacted by the conflict, including the elderly, people with disabilities, children, and families at risk.
Hadassah – Hadassah hospitals in Israel and their medical teams are currently providing crisis medicine and trauma care to those impacted by the ongoing conflict.
Doctors Without Borders/MSF – The organization is donating medical supplies to hospitals and health facilities in Gaza to respond to medical needs. MSF does not run medical programs in Israel, which has strong emergency and health services. MSF has been running medical programs in Gaza for more than 20 years, supporting a healthcare system that urgently lacks both medical personnel and supplies. Their teams work in three hospitals and several outpatient clinics, offering comprehensive care for people suffering from burns and trauma. Since 2018, MSF has been running a reconstructive surgery program in northern Gaza. They also operate several medical programs in the West Bank.
Zakat Foundation of America – The foundation has been on the ground in this volatile area for over 20 years. Alongside local partners, Zakat works to provide both long-term (education, health, and food sustainability) and short-term aid. Zakat has stated that it is supplying emergency relief, including: medical supplies, hygiene kits, food, warm blankets, and clothing.
Anera – The organization has no political or religious affiliation and works on the ground with partners in Palestine mobilizing immediate emergency relief. Anera has already delivered 12,000 bags of IV solutions to Gaza’s largest hospital. In the coming days, they will distribute food parcels, water, and hygiene kits to displaced families.
Direct Relief – Direct Relief has committed funds to the Ashkelon Foundation, a nonprofit located in southern Israel. The foundation supports the Barzilai Medical Center which received approximately 300 patients the first day of the attack. Direct Relief is also working with other health-focused nonprofits in Israel to assess the need for additional aid.
Episcopal Relief & Development – Episcopal Relief and Development is working with Al Ahli Hospital, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, to provide emergency support for those affected in Gaza. Al Ahli Hospital, with the support of Episcopal Relief & Development, is actively recruiting emergency staff and gathering essential supplies including medicines, ICU equipment, fuel, and food.
HIAS – The organization has been operating in Israel since 1950. Within 24 hours of the initial conflict, HIAS activated its emergency response protocols to provide life-saving support to those displaced. The organization’s core emergency capabilities include providing hygiene supplies, blankets, dignity kits, mental health and psychological support, and child protection.
Muslim Aid USA – Muslim Aid USE is actively responding to this humanitarian crisis, working alongside its partners on the ground. The organization and its partners are delivering essential medical aid and equipment to the main hospitals in Gaza. They are also providing food packages and vital non-food items such as hygiene kits and other necessities to those who are in need.
Scammers will attempt to exploit your emotions during times of crisis as a means of siphoning donations away from legitimate charities.