Israel Committed to Expanding Aid Programs in Third World Countries

An Israeli foreign ministry official here last week for the special UN session on the economic crisis in Africa told a meeting of Jewish, Black, Hispanic and Asian leaders that Israel remains committed to expanding aid programs in Third World countries.

Benjamin Avileah, director of MASHAV–Israel’s Division of International Cooperation–said Israel wants to share its own experiences with development and shortage of resources with other developing countries. The address to the group was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Avileah cited the many programs conducted in African nations last year and said Israel’s technical assistance was primarily agricultural. Israel is the only country in the world where desertification has receded and the country wants to share those types of arid zone technologies with its African neighbors, Avileah said.

28,000 TRAINED IN ISRAEL

According to Avileah, in the 28 years of MASHAV’s activity more than 28,000 trainees from 112 countries have come to Israel for courses in such areas as agriculture, community development, regional planning and public health.

Another 25,000 professionals were trained by Israeli experts in “on the spot” courses in their native lands, the Israeli officials told the JCRC meeting. In addition, 9,000 experts were sent to emerging nations to teach courses on specific subjects relevant to the timely developmental needs of individual countries.

Avileah pointed out that living conditions in many countries are not improving. “Africa today,” he asserted, “eats ten percent less than it did 15 years ago.”

In response to the crises confronting the Third World, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, through MASHAV, has offered these struggling nations an integrated development program which has been embraced even by governments which have yet to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

In 1985 alone, Avileah noted that 770 foreign trainees studied in Israel; 650 men and women took “on the spot” courses in their own countries; 23 Israelis were stationed in Third World countries for long term programs–mainly in agriculture and ophthalmology; and 100 short missions were completed in the fields of agriculture, community development and public health.

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