Israel opens pavillion at World Humanitarian Summit

Cnaan Liphshiz

Israeli rescuers arrived in Haiti on the evening of Jan. 15, 2010, hours after Obama spoke. Photo from Jan. 17. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90)

Israeli rescuers arrived in Haiti on the evening of Jan. 15, 2010, hours after Obama spoke. Photo from Jan. 17. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90)

(JTA) — An Israeli delegation led by a top diplomat arrived in Turkey to represent Israel at the first World Humanitarian Summit.

Dore Gold, the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, cut the ribbon of the Israeli pavilion at the summit on Tuesday. The summit takes place in Istanbul, is organized by the United Nations and aims to reinvigorate and provide an overview of relief efforts worldwide.

Noting Israel’s contribution in recent years to relief efforts in Rwanda, Turkey, Japan, the Philippines, Nepal and Haiti – where in 2010 Israel built a field hospital and was among the first three countries to provide aid to victims of a devastating earthquake – Gold wrote on Twitter that “Israeli humanitarian intervention reflects Jewish value of Tikun Olam,” or repairing the world.

With Gold was Gil Haskel, head of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, referred to as Mashav, which helps developing countries deal with disasters, provides medical assistance and aids in building national strength.

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“Israel is proud to play a central role and to stand at the forefront of international aid to developing countries and disaster-stricken areas,” Haskel said in a statement.

In 2014, Israel’s Official Development Assistance worldwide was $200 million, representing 0.07 percent of its gross national income. This sum is considerably lower both in relative and absolute terms than the contributions made by Western European countries. The Netherlands that year gave $5.6 billion, constituting 0.6 percent of its gross income.

However, international aid officials in Israel maintain Israel is able to make a relatively big impact with its donation because of its fast response and by sharing its knowledge.

Also represented at the World Humanitarian Summit was Olam, an international network of Jewish organizations, including 14 groups active in humanitarian aid, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewish World Service and Cadena — a Jewish-Mexican NGO for humanitarian relief, which has won the National Civil Protection Prize in Mexico.

Olam handed out a booklet at the conference that was produced in partnership with the Society for International Development-Israel, which highlights the contribution of Jewish and Israeli organizations active in humanitarian aid.

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