An important part of Israel’s aid to developing countries is carried out through the many Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in this field. These NGOs specialize in emergency and post-trauma assistance, as well as long-term community development and sustainability programs Their activities reflect the Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam,” which is the aspiration to contribute to the improvement of the world we live in. Israeli NGOs engage in a plethora of activities: some dispatch emergency aid following natural disasters; others focus on community development and empowerment, the advancement of equality and inclusiveness, agriculture, public health and more. Most are members of the Israeli branch of the Society for International Development (SID), a world-wide civil society development cooperation network. Other prominent NGOs operate independently.
Israel has extensive experience in the rehabilitation of communities which find themselves in crisis due to terrorism, war and natural disasters, and it shares this expertise with other countries in post-emergency situations. Many Israeli NGOs participate in post-trauma community support, resilience building and refugee aid around the world – including in Haiti, Ethiopia, the Congo, Darfur, Uganda, the Philippines and Nepal
Israeli youth culture generally includes a period of international travel, usually backpacking, before enrolling into university and “settling down.” During this period, many choose to join local volunteer programs in developing countries around the world, catering to a wide range of community needs that include helping children at-risk, providing care to AIDS patients, contributing to women’s empowerment and promoting local environmental issues.
Israel believes that emergency care transcends ideology and politics, and is committed to delivering rapid relief to disaster areas, regardless of the status of its diplomatic relations with the country. MASHAV is responsible for coordinating Israel’s official humanitarian assistance program, at times in partnership with Jewish organizations and NGOs to maximize effectiveness. Israel’s immediate response to emergencies includes search-and-rescue units, advanced medical assistance, food and psycho-traumatic support Large scale rapid response efforts are led by the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command, the army’s main authority for civilian protection, which has conducted dozens of humanitarian missions around the globe. Emergency assistance is also coordinated with NGOs specializing in disaster relief work. As urgency recedes, MASHAV undertakes the ongoing relief, reconstruction and long-term rehabilitation efforts. In April 2015, shortly after a terrible earthquake shook Nepal, two Israeli planes were among the first to reach the disaster zone, bearing more than 200 emergency care professionals and 100 tons of equipment, including a fully-equipped field hospital. The delegation was soon on the ground saving lives. Since then, Israel has remained highly involved in the long-term rehabilitation efforts. Israel’s humanitarian assistance is also offered closer to home. Its northern neighbor, Syria, which waged war on Israel several times in the past, has in recent years been embroiled in a bloody civil war, in which many of the victims are civilians. Israel operates a field hospital near the border to treat wounded Syrian civilians. Those who require complex surgical procedures are transported to Israeli hospitals for further treatment.
Israel, by tragic circumstance, has become an expert in dealing with mass casualty and emergency situations. Israel has gained vast experience in responding to situations resulting from war and terror attacks against its civilian population, leading to the development of extremely effective rapid response procedures. It is no wonder that it is often the first to send assistance when disaster strikes.
In January 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people and wounding many more. Israel responded within hours by dispatching 220 personnel, including volunteers, doctors and search-and-rescue teams, to provide immediate relief. The IDF’s field hospital, equipped with the best technology, was the first to open its doors to the victims, saving numerous lives. Long-term rehabilitation assistance wasn’t far behind. MASHAV established a permanent hospital trauma unit complete with state-of-the-art medical equipment, and trained local doctors, nurses, and technicians to staff the center.
In 2014, MASHAV sent Israeli medical experts with fully equipped emergency mobile medical clinics to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, joining the global effort to combat the local Ebola epidemic. The personnel, equipment and protective gear effectively enabled local medical staff to isolate and quarantine affected populations. Israel then followed up with a pledge of $8.75 million in long-term assistance, becoming the largest donor per capita in fighting Ebola.
Israel is a key player in the international effort to improve synergies among the stakeholders involved in development cooperation. It has recently played a pivotal role in negotiating the UN’s 2030 Agenda, adopted in September 2015, which establishes clear goals to eradicate poverty, protect the environment and bring about sustainable development. MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, is actively committed to advancing the international community’s 2030 Agenda as a top priority In the belief that global goals can best be achieved through coordinated and combined efforts and resources, MASHAV has entered dozens of international agreements on a bilateral, trilateral and multilateral basis. These activities position Israel as a substantial contributor to the global efforts to improve human living conditions, on local, regional and international levels.
In April 2013, UN Women and MASHAV signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the economic empowerment of women, focusing on the fields of agro-business and technology. The result was the establishment of the Africa Centre for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership (ACTIL) in Kenya, which has provided leadership training to hundreds of participants from over 25 nations since its inception.
The Indo-Israeli Agriculture Project was launched in response to the government of India’s request that MASHAV disseminate Israeli agricultural knowledge and best practices among Indian farmers, and involves the establishment of twenty-six Agricultural Centres of Excellence across India. The cutting-edge training and equipment offered by MASHAV demonstrate the newest technologies in a range of agricultural fields, including water conservation, increasing crop yields and the use of sustainable pesticides.
As part of the growing bilateral strategic relationship between Israel and Germany, the two countries cooperated in launching the “Israel Germany Africa Initiative.” The goals of the initiative include eradicating poverty and hunger, attaining food security and promoting sustainable development in Africa. The Initiative’s programs are being implemented in cooperation with Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi.
MASHAV cooperates with multilateral organizations to achieve maximum coordination and cooperation in the implementation of international development activities, among them: UN UNDP UNFAO UNWFP UNWOMEN UNICEF UNHABITAT UNEP WHO UNECE UNFPA UNESCO UNODC UNCCD UNWMO UNIDO UNAIDS OECD WORLD BANK YABT IFAD IOM OSCE CTCN IRENA
Via Ministry of Foreign Affairs