Thursday, 9 February 2017

Young Jews and Arabs combine to ease the lot of refugees

There is good news coming out of Israel to set against Netanyahu's "regularising" the land-grab of Palestinian property for illegal settlements. (On this point, it is reported in Israel that Mrs May told their PM on his brief stop-over in London that passing the contentious law would be "unhelpful".)

The liberal Israel newspaper Haaretz reports:

If all goes as planned, an Israeli delegation of Jewish and Arab youth movement leaders will head to the Greek island of Lesbos next week to help establish educational and social programs there for young Syrian refugees. Teaming up in the effort will be two youth movements – Zionist-socialist Hashomer Hatzair and the Arab Ajyal group – who have a long history of cooperation [...] The Lesbos project, which will be overseen by the Tel Aviv-based humanitarian assistance organization Natan, is the latest example of an Israeli grassroots initiative aimed at helping victims of the conflict in Syria. Among other things, it aims to create both formal and informal educational and social frameworks for the young refugees, including leadership programs, while working with other humanitarian groups active on the island as well. Most of the Israeli initiatives to date have focused on providing food, clothing, medication and other basic necessities to those suffering from the bloody civil war raging in Syria over the last six years. Some, however, have involved less tangible forms of assistance, such as petitions, protests and prayers.

The Israeli army operates a field hospital on the [Israel/Syria border], where wounded Syrians are treated. Many Syrians have also received care in Israeli hospitals. But the government of Israel has, for the most part, not gone out of its way to extend assistance to these beleaguered people, leaving the field open to civil-society initiatives such as this new one.

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