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Repairing The World - Israel's 60 years of Remarkable Humanitarian Efforts
Friday August 19th 2016 is the UN's World Humanitarian Day, established to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world. This is a cause that Israel has shown, by half a century of incredible actions, that it strongly supports:
There are only 8 million Israelis, living in a tiny country ranking around 190th in land size, yet Israel leads the world in humanitarian efforts and disaster relief, often first on the ground when natural disasters strike.
In our documentary Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes A Big Difference we explore how this Jewish idea of repairing the world (aka Tikkun Olam), is one of the reasons behind Israel's remarkable success.
Tikkun Olam is part of the psyche of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, and perhaps this is why Israel has always made humanitarian efforts a priority. But even people who are aware of this might not know all of the incredible help and humanitarian aid Israel has given to 140 countries and people when disaster has struck over the past 54 years:
Here are just a few highlights:
1. Over the past few months:
Israeli teams are currently in Cameroon helping the country cope with a devastating Avian Flu outbreak.
Earlier this year Fiji was hit by a devastating typhoon that caused massive damage - Israeli volunteers and experts are helping rebuild a village called Vuma that was obliterated.
In South Sudan, IsraAID (The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid) is supporting programs to help to transform the lives of women and girls displaced by the current conflict, through vocational training, empowerment groups, psychosocial support and community outreach activities.
In October 2015, Israel sent humanitarian aid to the Republic of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean, in the form of a porridge powder which contains all the nutrients for a healthy diet, to feed the 2,000 inhabitants of the island for a month.
2. Europe's Syrian Refugee Crisis (ongoing):
Israel is providing support and expertise to help Greece to cope with the Syrian refugees pouring into Europe, sometimes literally plucking Syrian kids out of the sea around the Greek islands
For the past two years, Israel has been working in Jordan, Iraq, and Bulgaria to help Syrian refugees there. This ranges from emergency aid distribution to trauma support and prevention training for host country governments and NGOs. In addition, IsraAID has been helping the Christian and Yazidi refugees of Iraq who have suffered extreme persecution at the hands of ISIS.
3. India January 2001:
After a massive earthquake in western India, Israel sent 5 planes loaded with over 65 tons of equipment and 170 search and rescue personnel. They set up one of the largest field hospitals there, staffed with doctors, nurses, medical assistants and IDF and Magen David Adom paramedics, who treated over 1,300 casualties, delivered 12 babies and helped with S&R efforts in the field.
4. Turkey Earthquake, 1999:
If you listen to Turkey's President Erdogan over the past few years, you'd think Israel was Turkey's lifelong enemy, but in fact, before his presidency Israel gave massive help to Turkey after a devastating earthquake which killed 17,480 people.
5. Turkey Earthquake, 2011: and again after another earthquake hit Turkey killing at least 644 people, and left thousands homeless, Israel sent mobile homes & medical equipment for survivors, despite Turkey's support for the violent Gaza flotilla that year.
6. Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013: An Israeli rescue mission was sent right away and immediately set up a field hospital, where they treated over 2,600 patients, performed 60 surgeries, delivered 36 babies, and worked on repairing schools damaged by the storm.
7. Ebola Outbreak 2014: Israel was the largest international aid donor per capita in the world, giving $8.75 million to help fight the disease. Israel also set up mobile clinics and sent out medical teams to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
8.Nepal Earthquake 2015:
After assisting with search and rescue, and setting up field hospitals following the massive earthquake in 2014, IsraAid set up the "Roof For All" shelter program.
9. A Eye From Zion
Many people seem unaware that since 1960 Israeli eye doctors have been setting up "pop up" two week eye camps in some of the world's poorest countries and communities, helping improve and restore sight to many thousands of people.
10. The Heart of Israel
In 1995 Israel established Save a Child’s Heart which has saved the lives of over 4000 children from Africa, S. America, Europe, Asia, and throughout the Middle East, by providing life-saving heart surgery in Israel, for these very sick children.
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Watch our film Israel Inside to learn more about the Jewish values that lie behind Israel's incredible success and which has brought this tiny country to the forefront of world innovation, progress and humanitarian efforts.