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June 16, 2024
Humanitarian Response

World Jewish Relief to support Israel’s Humanitarian Approach in Gaza  

Richa

On Sunday 16 June, an exclusive webinar was hosted by World Jewish Relief and JW3, to hear directly from Colonel Elad Goren, Head of Civil Affairs at COGAT: the Israeli Government agency responsible for humanitarian aid into Gaza.

In this moving and informative briefing, Colonel Goren explained the complex ecosystem in which COGAT is operating: on the one hand having had colleagues both killed and kidnapped on October 7th, and on the other being responsible for ensuring that essential humanitarian assistance reached civilians in Gaza.

Colonel Goren emphasised the importance, and indeed necessity, of Israel’s humanitarian approach. He highlighted that the official Israeli Government policy is to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza through trusted partners – not because of international pressure but because these are the values of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive, Paul Anticoni, explained that it was this explicit encouragement and approval from COGAT and the Israel Authorities that has led to its decision to provide targeted support to a partner in Gaza, to deliver lifesaving maternal and infant healthcare to mothers and babies. World Jewish Relief was encouraged by Israel’s President and contacts at the Defence Minsters’ Office and IsraAID, who connected the organisation to Colonel Goren at COGAT.

World Jewish Relief will be working on this project alongside a global humanitarian responder. The programmes it runs in Gaza – which don’t use any pre-existing infrastructure – are life-changing. The organisation vets and hires all its own staff, and does not use Gazan Ministry of Health staff in their field hospitals. They also do not treat armed combatants. All staff on the ground must go through a level of security checks to meet government funding requirements.

The funding for this project has been provided by a small number of private donors specifically for this purpose. World Jewish Relief is not appealing for funds for this work and will not use any additional funds from other donors for this initiative.

During the webinar, Anticoni also described the organisation’s ongoing commitment to supporting the people of Israel after the horrific events of October 7th.  After not having worked with partners in the country for more than two decades, the World Jewish Relief Board quickly decided to direct support to partners that closely aligned to its areas of expertise. This support is now being extended to ensure the Israel Trauma Coalition can continue to provide essential psychological and trauma support to all Israelis in the aftermath of October 7th.

Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief said: “For the last 91 years World Jewish Relief has proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with communities in crisis across the world. We have taken a careful and considered approach to this decision, which we hope our supporters will recognise, and are proud to be working with Israel to help the country we love advance its interests.”

Ending the webinar, Colonel Goren told listeners that the support of the Jewish community for field hospitals inside Gaza during a conflict, represented everything that is beautiful in the Jewish religion and in Israel.