ISRAEL’S HUMANITARIAN CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD

ISRAEL’S HUMANITARIAN CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD

Since the very beginning of Israel’s existence as a free and independent state, she has sought to help other emerging states to leave their colonial past behind and develop into stable, democratic, and economically viable nations.

Israel’s response to the emergence from colonial control of the new states of Africa and Asia in the 1950’s and 1960’s focused on helping them develop and prosper. Israel sought to befriend less-developed states by pursuing a policy in keeping with its own aspirations for economic development and modernization. Israel’s policy constituted an important area of its overall foreign policy, and involved exchange and training programs, technical assistance, joint economic enterprises, loans and trade.

Students and civil servants were trained in Israel, where university scholarships enabled them to acquire specialized education. The initial decade involved thousands of young people from countries in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean basin, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They came to Israel to study methods of agricultural settlement, the labor movement, youth education in the Nahal and Gadna programs, vocational training and cooperation, and various branches of science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Technion in Haifa, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.

At the same time, thousands of Israeli experts were active in Asian, African, and Latin American countries. Israeli professors and instructors were provided to overseas educational institutions, where they taught subjects ranging from eye surgery to ship navigation. Israeli technicians and specialists in various fields, including city planning, union organization, tourism, irrigation, and water supply, were sent to developing countries, as well as a large number of Israeli advisers in the fields of agriculture, agricultural planning, and cooperative arrangements. Other major fields of assistance included doctors and medical technicians, educators, armed forces instructors, and youth corps leaders.

A number of economic enterprises jointly owned by Israeli organizations and foreign governments or agencies were established. The basic idea was to train local personnel so that the home country could take over complete control of the companies after a specified period,* thus helping them become fully independent of their former colonial masters.

*A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISRAEL,2nd Ed. Bernard Reich. Checkmark Books, 2008. p. 70.

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