10 incredible facts on Israeli humanitarian aid

Over the past 73 years, Israel has established over 35 relief programs that have made a profound impact on countries all over the world.

​In 1958, Israel adopted an official agenda for humanitarian aid. Since then, Israel has provided vital relief to more than 140 countries!

Here are 10 facts about Israeli humanitarian aid.

1. Over the past 73 years, the Israeli government and individual Israelis have established over 35 organizations and relief programs that have made a profound impact on countries all over the world.

Photo via Shutterstock.com

● Israeli relief organizations include MASHAV, IsraAID, ZAKA, Natan, Israeli Flying Aid, Save a Child’s Heart and Latet.

Israeli volunteers have helped refugees from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Rwanda, Chechnya, Indonesia, Haiti, Burma, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and more.

2. Starting 10 years after its founding, Israel adopted an official humanitarian aid agenda, providing vital relief to more than 140 countries.

Track Israeli aid all over the world with the ISRAEL21c Israel Aid Map.

● In 2019, Israeli Flying Aid delivered lifesaving medical supplies to hospitals and orphanages in Africa to aid victims of terror.

● In 2019, Israel sent a unit to stem the tide of measles outbreaks in Samoa.

● After the devastation caused in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, MASHAV sent clean drinking water to those affected by the disaster. They reached 11,000 people in the first week of their mission.

3. Israel’s humanitarian aid efforts formally began with the establishment of MASHAV in 1958.

MASHAV Director Gil Haskel and Kenya’s Minister of Water and Irrigation, Eugene Wamalwa, at the announcement of the Kenya Israel Drought Resilience Agriculture Center in March. Photo via Facebook

● MASHAV assists countries striving to alleviate global problems of hunger, disease, and poverty by providing technical training and sharing technology.

● MASHAV, now Israel’s agency for International Development Cooperation, is the body responsible for Israel’s official humanitarian assistance program.

● Since 1959, MASHAV has been sending Israeli eye doctors to countries throughout the developing world to treat preventable blindness and ocular disease.

4. Since the 1980s, Israel has also provided Humanitarian Aid in the wake of natural disasters and terrorist attacks beyond its borders. By tragic circumstance, Israel is a world leader in handling mass casualties. No other country can dispatch search & rescue teams and field hospitals as fast and effectively.

ZAKA volunteers loading bodies in a helicopter after recovery at the dam collapse site in Brazil. Photo: courtesy

● On November 9, 2020, IsraAID sent an emergency response team to Guatemala following Tropical Storm Eta, which killed more than 250 people and affected over 200,000 others.

● The IDF was sent to aid in search and rescue following the 7.0 earthquake that hit Turkey on October 30, 2020.

● In March 2021, the IDF send an aid delegation and medical personnel to assist relief efforts in Equatorial Guinea following explosions that left 100 dead and over 600 wounded.

5. Israel’s various aid organizations, such as IsraAID, have partnered with numerous notable organizations such as Unicef, the UNHCR, Habitat for Humanity, Hilton Hotels, and the International rescue committee.

Lauren Proctor from IsraAID, right, with Scott Dinits, human resources director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley, California. Photo: courtesy

● IsraAID and Unicef partnered to create 22 “psychology first aid” stations in Dominica treating over 13,000 kids after Hurricane Maria.

● In 2018, IsraAID arranged for a delegation of American pediatricians to join their ongoing medical program in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. With the help of the International Rescue Committee, the American doctors also trained Kakuma’s medical staff. This marked the first joint Israeli-American medical specialist mission.

6. The Magen David Adom Overseas Volunteer Program offers 18- to 30-year-olds the opportunity to be trained as ambulance first responders (EMS), learn about emergency medicine, and volunteer on an ambulance.

Magen David Adom youth volunteers collecting food for needy families in central Israel before Rosh Hashana. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90

● Magen David Adom (MDA) is Israel’s national ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, as well as Israel’s representative to the International Red Cross.

● MDA was founded on June 7, 1930, in Tel Aviv by seven Israeli doctors who set up a one-room emergency medical service in a dilapidated hut.

● MDA is mainly staffed by more than 10,000 volunteers contributing over one million combined man-hours per year.

● MDA has been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 in Israel, creating vehicles to provide mobile flu shots and Covid testing, as well as aiding in vaccine distributions.

● With the help of MDA, on January 7, 2021, Israel became the first country in the world to complete the first phase of vaccinations for all residents and employees of elder-care and assisted-living/retirement facilities. 

7. In November 2020, Save a Child’s Heart conducted its 5,555th lifesaving procedure.

Save a Child’s Heart cofounder Dr. Akiva Tamir hugging a past patient. Photo by Yonatan Sindel

● Since 1995, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) has saved over 5,700 children.

SACH has helped children in over 60 countries including China, Congo, Ecuador, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Iraq, Jordan, Russia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine as well as to children in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

● Over 2,000 Palestinian children have been treated at the SACH weekly clinic.

● SACH’s mission is focused on improving the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries and creating centers of competence in these countries.

8. IsraAID has provided assistance in education, medical care, protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene to over 50 countries.

An IsraAID worker in Guatemala. Photo courtesy of IsraAID

● Through their 23 child-friendly spaces around the world, IsraAID has reached over 46,000 children.

● IsraAID helped set up 26 refugee camps across Germany that housed 7,000 refugees in 2019 alone.

● IsraAID supports hospitals in Kenya that serve more than 300,000 people.

9. In October 2020, the Embassy of Israel in Ecuador and MASHAV, in cooperation with the local Ecuador Shalom Club and the local ophthalmological Clinica Sancho, launched “Help Me See So I Can Study.”

The complex human eye. Photo by Shutterstock

● Over 200 children have already benefited from the first campaign held in the area of Cangahua Canton Cayambe.

● The project aims to improve the eyesight of children in rural areas.


10. Israel has donated the Covid-19 vaccine to countries around the world in an effort to prevent the global spread of the virus.

A medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection at Ziv Medical Center in the Safed. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90

● IsraAID has been instrumental in getting this vaccine to countries like Eswatini, a country in East Africa.

● This move will help to stop the spread on a global scale which is the ultimate key in ending the coronavirus pandemic.

● In March 2021, Israeli nonprofit SmartAid supplied a million children’s facemasks and 600,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Los Angeles County to protect children in disadvantaged areas from catching the virus.


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