United Hatzalah volunteers from Israel in Surfside, Fla. on July 8, 2021. (United Hatzalah) (United Hatzalah)
United Hatzalah Florida

“Israelis want to be there for Jewish communities, and mutual obligation to each other remains an important value for the Jewish people.”

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

In a new development in Israel-Diaspora relations, a Jewish Agency poll found that Israelis feel they can offer Jewish communities around the world help in fighting antisemitism and terror, as well as assisting in disaster relief, and many felt a strong sense of responsibility to do so.

What does Israel have to offer Diaspora Jewish communities? That’s the question the Jewish Agency’s JReady Jewish emergency network put to Jewish Israelis. The poll was conducted on iPanel.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents said Israel is most knowledgeable about battling terror and antisemitism.

Disaster relief was another common answer, including dealing with earthquakes (65%), responding to large-scale fires (39%) and coping with flooding (30%).

Thirty-eight percent suggested assisting Diaspora Jews in fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty percent of Israelis also expressed a sense of duty and obligation to assist Jews abroad in crisis situations, while 67% said they were ready to volunteer and help Diaspora communities in emergency situations.

Israel has been at the forefront of international relief efforts in far-flung locations like Ecuador, Nepal, and Albania.

But the humanitarian assistance took on a deeper meaning in June with the collapse of Miami’s Surfside condominium complex in June. A significant number of the 98 fatalities were Jews. The Israeli consulate in Miami sprang into action.

Israel sent a delegation of IDF rescue workers and United Hatzalah’s psychotrauma and crisis response unit. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also dispatched Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai to Florida to meet with local Jews report back to Jerusalem on their needs.

“Israelis want to be there for Jewish communities, and mutual obligation to each other remains an important value for the Jewish people,” said JReady chairwoman Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin.

Full details of the survey will be released on Thursday, when JReady marks its first anniversary of activities.