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August 6, 2020 12:28 pm

Israeli Humanitarian Group Raising Funds for Beirut Disaster Relief

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A damaged vehicle is seen at the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamed Azakir.

Following the massive explosion on Tuesday in Beirut that killed over a hundred people and devastated much of the city, the Israeli government offered aid to Lebanon, a gesture that was rejected.

Israelis, however, are not deterred, and one humanitarian group is actively campaigning to gather contribution for the relief efforts in the Lebanese capital.

Yediot Aharonot reported on Thursday that Israeli Flying Aid (IFA) — which focuses on providing disaster relief to countries that do not have official relations with Israel — is hoping to raise one million shekels to provide food, medical care and clothing to victims of the blast.

Gal Lusky, who heads the organization, told Yediot, “I call on the citizens of Israel to donate to the people of Beirut. I think it’s important for us to be able to show the beating heart of the civil Israeli society, which is based on the DNA of sanctifying life. It is our small duty as human beings — both to identify with the terrible grief and with the suffering.”

Lusky praised the Tel Aviv Municipality’s decision to illuminate the facade of City Hall with the Lebanese flag on Wednesday night, saying the move expressed “uncompromising solidarity with the suffering and opposes harming the innocent.”

“It warms my heart, mine and I’m sure that of many Israelis and Jews in Israel and around the world,” Lusky added.

Israelis, Lusky asserted, should not be deterred by Lebanon’s official stance of hostility toward Israel.

“I think our great achievement as a society is not to drown in our own difficulties and certainly not to act on existential anxiety in the dialogue with Lebanon,” she said.

She added that she hoped IFA’s campaign would “go above politics, over the heads of the governments, and over the head of Hezbollah; and allow dialogue and direct aid from fathers and mothers in Israel to fathers and mothers on the other side.”

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