Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
Kerem Shalom crossing

Despite its domestic challenges, Israel sends aid in a variety of forms to countries in need.

Since the establishment of the modern State of Israel, foreign aid to the Jewish nation has been a hotly debated issue on the international political scene. The type, amount, and timing of aid is often predicated on whether or not Israel complies with the donor’s demands.

Often when the United States threatens to cut aid to Israel, EU members join the chorus of support. Should the US provide Israel with weapons that might be used to protect herself against Hamas aggression from Gaza? Should the US provide funds to allow Israel’s continued reliance on Iron Dome to protect her citizens? Just this week, there was talk of EU sanctions against Israel immediately after the upcoming elections, the purpose of which is to push Israel into relinquishing Judea and Samaria for the establishment of a “Palestinian” state.

But one aspect of foreign aid that is rarely mentioned in connection with Israel is the amount of aid that Israel provides to other countries. One might think that with all the talk of US and European aid to Israel and with all of the political, military and social issues that Israel faces on a daily basis, Israel would have too much on her own plate to look outside of herself.  But that’s not the case at all.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to ISIS.  Photo: Haaretz.com

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to ISIS. Photo: Haaretz.com

We are all familiar with the daily news pieces about Israel’s technological advances. We hear about the medical breakthroughs that Israel shares with the world, from new surgical techniques to novel treatments for devastating diseases. While these advances benefit all of mankind and help make the world a better place, in the end, these Israeli breakthroughs benefit Israel as well.

Conversely, Israel furnishes assistance to other nations that is completely altruistic, providing help to other countries simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Israel sends trucks full of supplies daily to Gaza, even though she has no real obligation to do so. The yearly total of physical aid that Israel delivers to Gaza is over 100,000 tons, in addition to supplying a large percentage of Gaza’s electricity for free.

Yesterday Israel National News reported that IsraAid, Israel’s international relief agency, is preparing to send deliveries

IsraAid volunteers in Sierra Leone.  Photo: israaid.co.il

IsraAid volunteers in Sierra Leone. Photo: israaid.co.il

of emergency supplies to Yazidi Kurds and Christian refugees of ISIS’ deadly military campaign in Iraq, as more evidence of the jihadist group’s atrocities begins to emerge.

It was also reported this week that Israel has sent volunteers and resources to Sierra Leone in the wake of a terrible Ebola outbreak. This epidemic comes only 15 years after a devastating civil war that resulted in over 50,000 deaths. Israeli volunteers continue to offer support in a variety of ways to affected communities.

The list of Israel’s aid goes on and on. For such a small country with so many challenges of its own, the fact that Israel looks beyond herself to the needs of others exemplifies Israel’s values. That’s something of which we can all be proud.