Explore the progress of 6 Humanitarian Aid Organizations in Israel

The following series highlights how six humanitarian aid organizations in Israel have grown and developed since their foundation.

ISRAEL21c’s Groundbreaking Israel campaign focuses on Israel’s unique culture, diversity, innovation and humanitarian aid.

Every Wednesday, Israel’s incredible humanitarian aid efforts are highlighted for #WorldAidWednesday on the Groundbreaking Israel Instagram.

The following series of “How it Started vs. How it’s Going” posts highlighted how much humanitarian aid organizations in Israel have grown and developed since their foundation.

1. Latet 

● How it started: Starting in 1996 with one man, Gilles Darmon, Latet aimed to relieve food insecurity in Israel.

● How it’s going: 25 years later, Latet has 27,000 volunteers and acts as an umbrella organization for 180 local associations.

Latet founder Gilles Darmon, left, and Latet volunteers.


● How it started: MASHAV was launched by the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 1957 with the goal of sharing technologies and advancements to the developing world. State leaders were motivated to share the knowledge gained from Israel’s own development experience with the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa. MASHAV exemplifies the Jewish concept of being a light unto the nations.

● How it’s going: MASHAV has made a positive impact on communities worldwide. Its current mission statement is “to lead Israel’s efforts to empower those living in poverty to improve their own lives. The State of Israel is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to contribute to the fight against poverty and global efforts to achieve sustainable development.”

MASHAV founders in its early days (David Ben-Gurion, left, and Golda Meir, right) and a collage of its projects today.

3. Save a Child’s Heart 

● How it started: It all began with Dr. Ami Cohen, a renowned pediatric cardiac surgeon who founded Save a Child’s Heart in 1995. SACH strives to improve pediatric care for children with serious heart defects who cannot get sufficient medical care in their own countries.

● How it’s going: SACH has treated some 5,555 children from more than 60 countries and helped train over 125 medical professionals. Based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, it was the first Israeli NGO to win the UN Population Award in 2018.

Save a Child’s Heart provides cardiac care to children from more than 60 countries.

4. IsraAid 

● How it started: IsraAID was founded in 2001 by Shachar Zahavi, Mully Dor, and Meira Aboulafia as an informal coalition of small humanitarian aid NGOs to respond to disasters around the world.

● How it’s going: Since its creation in 2001, IsraAID workers have responded to crises in more than 50 countries.

Image on left shows one of IsraAID’s first missions, in Sri Lanka and Thailand after the 2004 tsunami. On right, IsraAID’s annual report issued in September 2019.

5. Israeli Flying Aid 

● How it started: Not long after its creation, Israeli Flying Aid was on the ground helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005. IFA deployed search-and-rescue teams, scoured hundreds of houses looking for survivors, and worked to treat the trauma of other first responders.

● How it’s going: Nearly two decades after Katrina, homes have been rebuilt and lives saved thanks, in part, to the brave efforts of Israeli Flying Aid. Today, IFA has carried out many humanitarian aid missions in Chad, Syria, Nepal, Haiti and other countries during times of war or natural disaster.

Israeli Flying Aid workers, left, include founder Gal Lusky, second from right.

6. Magen David Adom 

● How it started: In response to Arab riots, Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) was founded in Tel Aviv on June 7, 1930, by seven Israeli doctors. They started with a one-room emergency medical hut and a vehicle to transfer patients.

● How it’s going: Today, Magen David Adom celebrates over 90 years of saving lives, with over 30,000 active employees and volunteers in 169 stations serving as Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. MDA responds to more than a million calls every year and is always at the forefront of saving lives.

Magen David Adom in the early days, left, and participating in a disaster drill, right.


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