Rabbi David Katz, Executive Director of the Israel Heritage Foundation, spoke to Israel National News -Arutz Sheva about his decision to be in Israel following the Hamas massacre of October 7.
"In October, when this started, as Executive Director of the Israel Heritage Foundation, we got a lot of money that we wanted to distribute to Israel, and they wanted me to come to help out in Israel," Rabbi Katz explained.
"I was very scared to go," he admitted. "There are a lot of people coming back: My son came back from yeshiva, everybody's coming home, everybody's running away. And why am I coming here? I must say, my wife Chaya, she pushed me and told me: If you're the executive director of such an organization, you have to go and help."
Rabbi Katz noted that in addition to the human cost of the October 7 massacre, the Hamas attack and ongoing war have caused economic damage by greatly reducing tourism to Israel, which made his coming to the Jewish State at this time all the more important.
"So there's so much things to do here in Israel, and by people coming, it's not only a chizuk (source of strength) for the private people and private families or soldiers or people that are on the front, it's helping out the whole financial [situation] in Israel," he said.
After several weeks in Israel, Rabbi Katz now feels safe. "Hashem is here with us," he said. "By the Kotel, I felt this was the right place to be, and that nothing will ever happen there."
The rabbi described how his organization worked with Operation Torah Shield 3 (OTS3), a delegation of 40 Yeshiva University students, rabbis, and faculty, who embarked on an independent solidarity mission to Israel to provide assistance during the war, such as volunteering at farms where the workers have been called up to serve in the IDF reserves, to hold a Thanksgiving barbeque for soldiers stationed in Hebron.
"Not all of the soldiers were able to come at one time, so we had to rotate," he said. "But they were so thankful to us for what we did for them."
Rabbi Katz called on other organizations to "compete" with the Israel Heritage Foundation in its charitable work in Israel.
"Competition is the best thing. I wish that not only Dovid Katz will be seen, but everybody should come to Israel and help out at this time," he said. "We all need help, and we all have to help."