The crisis in Syria is continually in our news. Its impact has reached beyond the Middle East to even our own shores. Millions of people’s lives have been affected with many families being torn apart by the violence. Its neighbour, Israel, has come under some criticism in the media for its perceived lack of response, but we want to put the record straight.
Firstly, Israeli charities were some of the first to help refugees when the migrant crisis first started. Israeli aid teams are located both in Greece and in the Balkans, despite considerable risks, providing medical treatment, blankets and food to refugees.
Closer to home, Israel has opened its border with Syria to allow humanitarian aid into the war torn country. Israel has shipped medical supplies, food and educational materials in recent months. It also set up a field hospital in what is known as the “safe zone” in south Syria, close to the border of Israel.
The IDF reported in September 2016 that they have given medical assistance to over 2,300 Syrian refugees, with many of them being treated in Israeli hospitals. There was a recent incident where a Syrian hospital was hit by mortar shells due to the civil war. The wounded were brought to the border of Israel because they knew Israel would help. The Israel Defence Forces airlifted those who were seriously wounded, including children who had been severely burned, and are currently treating them inside Israel.
And the work Israel is doing, while ignored by much of the media, is being noticed by Syrians.
A Syrian refugee has gone to great lengths to set up a website (www.thankyouamisrael.com) to thank the Jewish State for what they are doing for him and his countrymen.
Aboud Dandachi, a displaced Syrian who is currently living in Istanbul says, “I grew up with statements like ‘These people are your enemies. The Jews are evil.’ And then I saw that the Jews are the most humane and generous people of this era.”
In an interview Dandachi said, “what surprised me is the feedback from Arabs. I was expecting hostility from Arabs and instead a surprising number have told me that I’m saying what they can’t say and that I should keep saying what I’m saying. It surprised me the number of Arabs and refugees like me who say that.”
The reality is that Israel, which is still technically at war with Syria, is helping Syrians in far greater ways than many of Syria’s closest allies. Well done Israel.