The Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry has opened Israel’s pavilion at the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, a United Nations-backed event to improve the global response to humanitarian crises.
Dore Gold opened the Israeli pavilion at the summit, showcasing the activities of the Israeli government, the IDF, the National Emergency Authority, and Israeli civil society organisations.
He said: “Israeli humanitarian involvement in the international arena reflects the ancient Jewish tradition of ‘Tikun Olam’ [repairing the world], the inspiration for Israeli teams to dispatch quickly to disaster zones from Turkey to Haiti.”
The two-day summit aims to establish a set of “concrete actions and commitments” which would help countries better prepare to combat crises. The IDF’s Home Front Command is considered to be a global leader in providing quick and effective disaster response to stricken regions.
In recent years, IDF teams have worked intensively to provide crucial services to disaster zones including Haiti and the Philippines. Most recently, in April, an IDF team transported 95 tons of medical and humanitarian supplies to Nepal following a devastating earthquake and rapidly set up a field hospital staffed by 122 doctors, nurses and paramedics. Other Israeli agencies such as the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency medical service are also invariably quick to provide vital care on the ground in such disaster zones.
Ambassador Gil Haskel, Head of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) also spoke. MASHAV facilitates long-term development in disaster-struck countries. Haskel commented: “Israel is proud to play a central role and to stand at the forefront of international aid to developing countries and disaster-stricken areas.”
Gold’s visit and the wider Israeli delegation at the Istanbul summit, comes as Israel and Turkey continue to negotiate a reestablishment of diplomatic ties after a six-year hiatus. Although there is apparent progress and willingness on both sides to normalise bilateral relations, no agreement has yet been finalised.