Tiny Israeli Providing Enormous Amount of Aid to War-torn Ukraine

Tiny Israeli Providing Enormous Amount of Aid to War-torn Ukraine

© David Burton 2022

Israel Aid to Ukraine

     One month after Russia launched its unprovoked assault on its peaceful neighbor, Ukraine, it may we well for us here in the United States of America to take note of the enormous amount of aid being quickly supplied to Ukraine by the tiny nation of Israel. Is any other nation doing as much per capita?
     Less than a week after Putin launched his attack on Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pledged to send 100 tons of humanitarian equipment to Ukraine in the following 48 hours.
     “In the next two days a plane will arrive in Ukraine with 100 tons of Israeli humanitarian equipment for civilians in the combat zones and those who are trying to leave,” said Bennett during Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. “It will have water purification kits, medical equipment as well as drugs, tents, blankets, sleeping bags and additional equipment for civilians who are not in their homes in the cold winter weather,” he said.
     “We have prepared well for these moments. The Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency and others are functioning very well. . .” he stated.[1]

     Less than two weeks after Russia attacked Ukraine, the Israeli government quickly established a Donation and Coordination Center (Matat) with the goal of centralizing and coordinating humanitarian aid initiatives and donations by Israeli civil society to the Ukrainian people.
     The initiative is headed by Ambassador Daniel Meron, who will serve as a special project manager for connecting Israeli civilian society with the State of Israel’s aid efforts and those of international organizations operating in Ukraine and along its borders.
     At the time, there were already dozens of companies, organizations, and private individuals working to transfer various kinds of humanitarian aid from Israel to Ukraine.
     Matat operates in parallel to the humanitarian aid provided by the State of Israel through Mashav, the State of Israel’s national aid agency, which operates from the Foreign Ministry and which is currently focusing on four major aid efforts at the direction of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid:

  • The establishment of a field hospital in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Sheba Hospital
  • Ongoing transfer of humanitarian aid (with emphasis on medicine and medical equipment)
  • Transfer of six large generators to the hospital in Lviv
  • Establishment of refugee assistance centers at border crossings where Israeli representatives are operating, with an emphasis on transferring winter gear to refugees exiting Ukraine.
     Shortly after the formation of Matat, the field hospital deployed to Ukraine was packed up and ready to go at Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
     By then, the Israeli government had already established refugee assistance centers at border crossings where Israeli government representatives were operating, and focusing in particular on transferring winter equipment to refugees leaving Ukraine. Unlike other countries, Israel acted swiftly and decisively without bureaucratic interference or delays.[2]

     Israel was one of the first countries to to do more than spout words of protest – it sprang into action to aid Ukraine. Israel’s NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief organization sent a medical mission from Israel to Poland to help the Ukrainians fleeing the Russian onslaught in their country.
     Although Israelis always rush to help victims of disasters anywhere - Haiti, Japan, Mexico, Mozambique, South Sudan, Nepal, the Philippines and dozens of other countries - this time, the outpouring of Israeli aid for Ukrainians since the Russian invasion on February 24 was highly personal.
     Not only are roughly half a million Israelis of Ukrainian descent, but about 26,000 Ukrainian nationals live in Israel and an estimated 300,000 Jews reside in Ukraine.
     Almost immediately following the Russian invasion, numerous Israeli governmental and non-governmental organizations began helping all Ukrainian refugees pouring into border countries.
     Leaders of Israeli NGOs and government agencies noted the outpouring of concern from across the nation.
     “We have about 6,000 volunteers and more than 1,000 responded to our call for our first mission to Moldova,” United Hatzalah spokesman Raphael Poch reported. “It was incredible how many volunteers wanted to go from all different communities. Some of our Arab volunteers want to come, too, but they can’t speak English or Russian. We will try to find a way for them to help.”
     Israel has absorbed the most Ukrainians per capita since the Russian invasion than any other Western country without a land border with Ukraine. The World Zionist Organization is setting up temporary housing.
     The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, United Hatzalah and Jewish groups and donors from around the world are bringing Ukrainian Jews to Israel.
     JAFI raised more than $19 million so far to support humanitarian and rescue operations in Ukraine border countries Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.
     JAFI and the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel initiated Torenu (Our Turn), to collect winter clothing and hygiene items from the Israeli public and transfer them to Jewish Agency centers active along the Ukrainian border.
     Israel’s hospitals are taking the initiative, as well. Aside from the field hospital set up by Israel’s Health Ministry, Sheba Medical Center and Clalit HMO, medical personnel from Schneider Children’s Medical Center and Hadassah University Medical Center flew over to aid refugees.[3]

     Near the end of the first month of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, “Israel began accepting patients . . . at its humanitarian field hospital in western Ukraine, where it will treat people affected by the war raging in the country.
     “Situated in the western Ukrainian city of Mostyska and called "Shining Star," the 66-bed hospital is set to be open 24/7 and staffed by more than 60 personnel.
     “It will be able to service 150 patients at a time and includes a triage area, an ER ward, men's, women's and children's wards, labor and delivery facilities, imaging and telehealth technologies, mental health services, a lab, a pharmacy and an outpatient clinic.
     “The hospital is being operated by Israel's Health Ministry, Sheba Medical Center, the Clalit HMO and medical teams from other hospitals. . .
      - - -
     " ‘Israel is the first country that is establishing a field hospital within Ukraine to treat victims of the war,' (Israel’s Foreign Minister } Lapid noted . . .
     " ‘We are doing it for the sake of Ukrainian children, but our children also need to know that the State of Israel does not stand aside. Where there is suffering and horror, we will extend a comforting hand and do anything to help.’
     “Multiple Israeli aid organizations are already operating in Ukraine and neighboring countries to aid refugees and the wounded. Magen David Adom, for example, sent four armored ambulances to Ukraine to help evacuate the wounded even under fire. Dream Doctors, meanwhile, is treating Ukrainian refugees in nearby Moldova, as is United Hatzalah. [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 4)

     Quickly following up on its promise of aid, Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development, delivered one ton of humanitarian aid to Poland on Friday, March 4, 2022, destined for Ukraine. The goods were rapidly distributed inside Ukraine’s battered cities and towns, where residents have suffered the horrors of war, while Russia continued its assault.
     For those Ukrainians unable to flee to the borders, the supplies were a welcome relief during a cold and harsh winter, when food, water, warm blankets, medicine, and other basic needs were in short supply in some areas.
     Israel’s Foreign Ministry has sent emissaries to assist Israelis, Jewish Ukrainians, and others crossing from Ukraine into bordering countries. Besides Poland, diplomats are stationed in Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia.
     Israeli Ambassador Dan Oryan, along with Consulate Michal Kali, assisted the government of Slovakia in early March to transfer the first of three shipments to the Zakarpattia region near Slovakia’s border with Ukraine.
     Israeli Foreign Ministry representatives prepared absorption and aid centers for Ukrainian refugees, including personal care items.
     Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been providing temporary shelter, along with food, beverages, blankets, pillows, cushions, clothing, and other supplies to Ukrainian refugees. It takes the Ukrainians days to get to the border, by bus, car, or on foot. Some come in wheelchairs. There are small children arriving, as well.[5]

     Toward the end of March 2022, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel was providing Ukraine with a large amount of aid, at a scale not provided by most other countries, while balancing a number of “complex considerations.”
     Bennett said this while speaking at the departure ceremony for an Israeli delegation flying out to set up the field hospital in Ukraine.
     Israel “has been reaching out with aid in the crisis in Ukraine for several weeks, right from the first moment through various channels,” Bennett said.
     Israel also operates “in other dimensions; there are not many countries that operate on such a scale. . . We are managing this unfortunate crisis in a sensitive, benevolent and responsible manner, while balancing the various considerations – and they are complex,” Bennett said.
     Meanwhile, Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelesnky, said that “The prime minister of Israel, Mr. [Naftali] Bennett, is trying to find a way of holding talks. And we are grateful for this. We are grateful for his efforts, so that sooner or later we will begin to have talks with Russia, possibly in Jerusalem.”[6]

     As reported in Welcome Qatar, an Israeli group of demobilized “elite commandos” has gone to Ukraine to train Ukrainians to fight the Russians.
     On Friday, 25 March 2022, the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, revealed that a group of reserve officers in the Israeli army is providing training in secret locations in Ukraine for volunteers to fight against the Russian attack.
     According to the newspaper, the trainers are a group of those who were demobilized from the “elite commandos”, the “Company of the General Staff” and other units of a high professional level, and they took the initiative to go to Ukraine to train Ukrainian volunteer citizens to fight against the Russian forces.
     According to the report, the officers train Ukrainian volunteers in fighting techniques at different levels completely voluntarily and without payment. This information was confirmed by “Danny,” a pseudonym used to refer to the commander of the secret Israeli team of trainers.
     “Danny” said that the goal of the goal of the group is to “rehabilitate as many Ukrainians as possible to defend themselves and provide first aid to Ukrainian citizens who were targeted in the Russian attacks.”
     One of the volunteers, An Israeli Jew born in Ukraine, revealed that private networks funded the airlift of volunteers from Israel to Poland, who then took buses from Warsaw to the Ukraine border.[7]

     Teams of United Hatzalah medics working in Moldova have made a number of small-scale covert visits to Ukraine to deliver vital medical and humanitarian supplies, the Jerusalem Post reported on 28 March 2022.
     United Hatzalah, Israel’s volunteer emergency services organization, dispatched medics to Moldova in Operation Orange Wings to assist Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war. The Hatzalah delegation was the first team of medical volunteers to reach the Ukrainian border after Russia’s February 24 invasion.
     The delegation of more than 50 volunteers includes doctors, paramedics, psychotrauma responders, a dentist, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
     In one of the missions, EMT Yehiel Gurfein, went with a Jewish Moldovan volunteer named Vladimir to deliver medical supplies and teach how to use them. Traveling from one community to another meant hours of driving and avoiding constant barrages in the distance.
     “The undercover delivery of food and medical supplies to people inside Ukraine is of vital importance and saves lives,” said David Krispil, United Hatzalah’s commander of Operation Orange Wings.
     Krispil added that a second covert mission was launched to deliver lifesaving medicine to a Ukrainian man in Odessa who had been without his medication for nearly two weeks. Krispil emphasized that the man would not have survived without the delivery.
     “I am proud of Yehiel, Vladimir, and all the other members of our team who are undertaking these covert missions and helping to save lives each and every day inside Ukraine and on the borders. It is the least that we can do to mitigate the human tragedy of this war,” Krispil added.[8]

     Israel is doing its part in accepting Ukrainians fleeing the ongoing fighting there.
     Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said that “despite the difficult circumstances that brought us the widespread immigration from Ukraine, the State of Israel considers this a time of goodwill and there is a great national and government mobilization for the absorption of immigrants.”
     Tamano-Shata said that the absorption of over 10,000 new immigrants — counting war refugees from Ukraine as well as those fleeing repression in Russia and Belarus — in just a month required a “concentrated national effort and round-the-clock work” by the ministry’s employees.
     “This is the pace we are expecting in the coming months,” Tamano-Shata said. “It is a privilege for all of us.”
     “Every day I meet immigrants at Ben Gurion Airport and the hotels and hear their difficult stories,” Tamano-Shata remarked. “It is a privilege to help them, especially in their hour of need after fleeing the war zones in Ukraine.”
     Over the weekend, 224 new immigrants eligible under the Law of Return arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, including 152 from Ukraine and the rest from Russia and Belarus. Another 480 refugees entered the country on tourist visas.[9]

     While Israel was immediately accepting 10,000 immigrants from Ukraine, President Biden was announcing the America would accept 100,000 refugees. Let's see - Ameirca would accept ten times the number of refugees as Israel while the United State has a population of 330 milion, more the 30 times that of Israel. And let's not forget Poland which has already taken in more than 2 million refugees. It was big of President Biden to welcome 100,000 displaced Ukrainians into the United States. While it is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the 4 million Ukrainians who have fled their wartorn country, it is at least a start. But he could have welcomed more of them and cut out all the red tape in the process.[10]

     We should consider the environment in which Israel is aiding Ukraine. The tiny Jewish nation has a population of only around 10 million and an area roughly the size of New Jersey (only about 8,500 square miles). It exists in a very tough neighborhood with a number of terrorist groups dedicated to destroying it. These terrorist groups include Hamas (Gaza), Hezbollah (Lebanon), Palestinians (West Bank), and ISIS (Syria and elsewhere) and these enemies are constantly attacking Israel and its citizens. To its east, the Ayatollahs of Iran have sworn to destroy the Jewish nation and are working hard to develop the nuclear weapons to achieve this end. Around the world, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiments continue to grow, and a virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel stance is always present within the supposedly impartial and unbiased United Nations.

     In spite of all these problems that plague the State of Israel, it still immediately took a leading role in coming to the aid of the beleaguered people of Ukraine in resisting the Russian attack on their nation. The people of Israel can be proud of the efforts of their nation to aid Ukraine.

  1. Israel to dispatch 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Jewish News Syndicate, 27 February 2022.
  2. Israel Establishes Center to Coordinate Aid to Ukraine, Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, 6 March 2022.
  3. For Israelis, the outpouring of aid to Ukraine is personal, Abigail Klein Leichman, Jewish News Syndicate,
    13 March 2022.
  4. Israel Opens Humanitarian Field Hospital in War-Torn Ukraine, Zenger News, Accessed 25 March 2022.
  5. War efforts: Israel’s aid to Ukraine and border nations, Carrie Hart, The Times of Israel, 5 March 2022.
  6. PM: Israel doing more than most to aid Ukraine, while balancing ‘complex’ considerations, The Times of Israel, 21 March 2022.
  7. Israel is secretly operating in Ukraine.. “Elite” officers are training Ukrainians to fight the Russians, Ben Armani, welcomeqatar.com, 26 March 2022.
  8. Israeli Medics Dodge Rockets in Covert Ukraine Missions, Pesach Benson, United With Israel, 28 March 2022.
  9. Israel Welcomes 10,000th Immigrant Since Invasion of Ukraine, Sharon Wrobel, United With Israel, 29 March 2022.
  10. Biden’s brittle backbone on the road, Peter Lucas, Boston Herald, 31 March 2022.

  7 April 2022 {Article_522; Israel_64}    
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