Israelis should not think twice before aiding Syrian refugees, Knesset Education Committee chairman Amram Mitzna (Hatnua) said Monday.
“It’s important for Arabs and Jews [to] work together to do something,” Mitzna said. “We cannot be apathetic in light of what is happening beyond the border.”
The Hatnua MK added: “Tens of kilometers away, horrible, indescribable things are happening and I think we cannot allow ourselves, with our history, to think twice before enlisting to help.”
At the committee, Mitzna hosted 30 teen members of Jewish, Arab and Druse youth groups who volunteer to help Syrian refugees via Israel Flying Aid (IFA) – an organization that provides aid through emergency medicine and care for trauma victims in countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations.
Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed and its alumni organization Dror Yisrael initiated a clothing drive for refugees.
“The international community’s silence on the atrocities in Syria costs lives,” Gal Lusky, IFA’s founder, said. “It warms my heart to see our youth take to the streets [to help refugees] and I thank them for breaking the silence.”
Noor, a 17-year-old Beduin teen, described how he and his classmates collected clothing and blankets for refugees.
“We spread the word among our friends and family. It’s easy to be a victim, but I can contribute to needy people even when my situation is difficult,” Noor said.
The government is to provide funding to IFA and use its photographs for the country’s PR, MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas) said.
MK Moshe Mizrahi (Labor) praised the teens’ “pure humanism.”
Last week, Hollywood actress Natalie Portman, who is currently living in Tel Aviv and working on a film based on Amos Oz’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” announced that she is contributing clothing and funds to IFA’s joint project with Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed and its alumni organization Dror Yisrael, and Operation Human Warmth to aid women and children in Syria.
“When I heard about Operation Human Warmth I felt deeply moved and compelled to get involved,” Portman said in a statement.
“In the middle of a brutal winter, these children have no shelter and their lives are in serious jeopardy from the cold. I am proud to take part in an operation where Israeli youth of all backgrounds are taking action to help out those whom need it most.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.