An Israeli aid organisation has been praised by the Lord Mayor of Leeds after it helped with those affected by floods in Yorkshire, England. The team has now headed north to Scotland to assist flood victims in Aberdeenshire.
IsraAid contacted Jewish communities in Britain to learn where their support was needed most, then made arrangements to send a team.
“This is an incredible initiative,” said Councillor Judith Chapman, who is Lord Mayor of Leeds. “I find it heartwarming to see that a delegation from Israel is prepared to drop everything in order to reach out to those in Yorkshire who have been affected by this recent terrible crisis and offer professional aid and support and their technical expertise. When we hear about the dreadfully disturbing events taking place worldwide then this humanitarian act puts everything into perspective and restores one’s faith in mankind.”
The volunteers– Navonel Glick, Mickey Noam-Alon, Yuval Statman, and Gilad Lavi– have been helping rebuild destroyed homes and distributing supplies to the affected areas. Shachar Zahavi, the founding director, said “We have responded to 10 floods and tornado disasters in the United States and when we saw what was happening to the UK it looked worse than ever before.”
Simon Jackson, who heads the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, praised the IsraAid volunteers for offering their assistance without being asked. “It’s quite amazing that the humanitarian reach of Israel through IsraelAid stretches all the way to the flood hit region of West Yorkshire, to a place many have never heard of, Hebden Bridge, where very few Jews live,” he added.
According to Glick, who is heading the mission to Yorkshire and serves as IsraAid’s deputy director, “when the victims realised we had actually travelled from Israel they couldn’t believe it. Suddenly they started to grin from ear to ear and then the reaction was, ‘Wow! Really? From Israel. You truly came to help us from Israel?’”
The team has now headed north of the border after a member of the Jewish community in Aberdeen contacted them for help.
Parts of the city in north-east Scotland have been badly affected by storm-force winds and heavy rainfall, with rivers bursting their banks and homes and businesses inundated.
Debby Taylor, of the Aberdeen Hebrew Congregation said she was “amazed by the work the Israeli’s were doing in Leeds.”
She said: “These are people who respond to global disasters, they help Syrians, and they are elite humanitarians they know what they are doing and have all that experience to offer. I thought it was amazing.”