JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish groups are delivering assistance to the newly established state of South Sudan.
IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid, in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and American Jewish Committee, are sending a humanitarian aid cargo to help the people of South Sudan "on behalf of the Israeli and Jewish people as a goodwill gesture between both communities," according to a news release issued by the organization.
IsraAID is planning to send a long-term aid mission to help women, children and the elderly in the new country.
“As a small and relatively newborn country, Israel has gained experience in various factors of water, agriculture, post trauma, education, migration and others that would be valuable to the people of South Sudan who are now building their country," said Shachar Zahavi, founding director of IsraAID. "It is our mission and Jewish commitment to reach out to our new friends in any way we can.”
AJC Executive Director David Harris said, “While we celebrate South Sudan’s birth, the people of South Sudan face daunting challenges that require urgent international assistance."
South Sudan became a state on July 9, with its capital in Juba, following a vote for independence. The country had been recognized the previous day by the government of Sudan.
Israel recognized the state the following day.
"This is a peace-seeking country and we would be pleased to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and its prosperity," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "Greetings to South Sudan."
Sudanese refugees living in Tel Aviv celebrated the birth of the new state, according to Israeli media.
Jewish groups also welcomed the new state.