The Historical Roots of Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine

While the Jewish state is not alone in sending assistance to beleaguered Ukraine, it is able to bring to bear its unique expertise when it comes to offering certain kinds of relief. Tammy Reznik explains:

Jerusalem has provided aid with a focus on its well-developed capacity to provide medical assistance, despite not sharing any borders with Ukraine. Israel acted quickly after the crisis hit, sending a professional mental-health delegation from the World Zionist Organization to Ukraine within the first week of the invasion, as well as a large shipment of medical supplies, equipment, and clothing to be shared [by] all citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish. This effort has been managed by multiple agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, Health Ministry, and leading Israeli hospitals.

Israel’s humanitarian effort culminated with an announcement on March 14 of a government-approved operation, Kokhav Meir, [literally “shining star”]—named after Israel’s Ukraine-born prime minister Golda Meir. This operation will see the setting up of a field hospital on the ground in Ukraine, with at least 100 staff members. . . . Israel has long been renowned for its capacity to set up these field hospitals in emergency zones, but this case is significant for a number of reasons.

The field hospital, of course, is but one of several initiatives, which include inter alia the purchase and provision of generators for the hospital in Lviv. Reznick also explains the special significance of the operation’s name:

Israel by way of tragic circumstance has developed a leading role in response to mass casualties. As such, Israel has established a set of extremely effective procedures for rapid and effective response in case of emergency, with a recognition of the mental-health impacts, as a key aspect of its international response.

Israel’s humanitarian efforts, began in 1958, with the establishment of MASHAV, a Hebrew acronym for the Agency for International Development Cooperation, following the first visit of the then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir to Africa. . . . Meir, who went on to become Israel’s first and only female prime minister, played a significant role in Israel’s crisis response, and MASHAV is one of her strongest legacies. Interestingly, Meir is a popular figure in Ukraine, thanks to her own Ukrainian heritage (she was born and spent most of her childhood in Kyiv).

Read more at Fresh Air

More about: Golda Meir, Humanitarian aid, War in Ukraine

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion