Israeli aid to Iraq helps Christians persecuted by Islamic State

“What we’re trying to achieve is a partnership between religious provide as much aid as possible to hundreds of thousands of new refugees who are fleeing IS," says IsraAID director.

October 20, 2014 13:36

Kurds recieve blankets from IsraAid truucks. (photo credit: ISRAAID)

IsraAID, an Israeli Non Governmental Organization (NGO), joined the international movement to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East, by providing aid to thousands of refugees who have fallen victim to the activities of the Islamic State (IS).

The mission, which according to IsraAID, was the first of its kind by an Israeli aid agency, supplied food, beds and blankets to more than 1,000 families in the city of Duhok in Northern Iraq.

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More than 1,000 to 1,500 Kurdish refugees arrive to the camp in Duhok every day, usually crossing into Iraq from Turkey. Many of them are from areas of Iraq under occupation or attack by the Islamic State, as well as the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria. The refugees join the already 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 200,000 refugees currently residing in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

With the help of the Canadian group ONEXONE, IsraAID trucks distributed 2,000 mattresses and blankets to the camp. The refugee camp is home to over 1,000 families and 1,015 newborns under one year old; IsraAID provided powered milk and formula for all infants in the camp.

“People who fled to here left their homes without any possessions,” Founding Director of IsraAID Sachar Zahavi said. “These people came with only clothes on their backs and this put them in a difficult situation.”

In the coming months, IsraAID plans to continue providing Christians and Yazidis fleeing the Islamic State with aid through local efforts on the ground. Zahav added that IsraAID hopes to help these refugees survive the winter by providing warm blankets, clothing and more food.

IsraAID received funding from various Jewish and Christian donors worldwide, and coordinated distribution efforts with locals with the United Nations.

This is not the first time that Israel has coordinated with local Kurdish authorities. The Kurds and the Jewish State have been known to have agreeable, if not somewhat ambiguous, relations recently. The nations especially agree on the issue of the threat of Islamic extremism and the threat that the Islamic State poses to the entire region.

“We feel that this type of program is very important, not only to the Jewish people, but to the Christian community and large as well as the Muslim community.” Zahav said, “What we’re trying to achieve is a partnership between religious actors, for example Christians and Muslims, to provide as much aid as possible to hundreds of thousands of new refugees who are fleeing IS.”
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