Who would have believed: Israelis distribute food to the needy in the United States
After decades of generous assistance from the USA to Israel, financial and otherwise, Israel has recently had a few opportunities to return the favor.
The consulate general of Israel in San Francisco along with volunteers from the Israeli humanitarian aid organization “Isra-aid,” handed out meals a few days ago to hundreds of needy families in San Francisco. This was part of the efforts of the San Francisco Food Bank which distributes food daily to the Bay Area needy. A long line of cars waited at the food bank. These are families whose financial state has worsened because of COVID 19 to the point where they don’t have enough food to eat.
“This is the Israeli spirit at its best. The sense of satisfaction of volunteering by handing out food is enormous,” said Matan Zamir, Israel’s deputy consulate general in San Francisco.
This is not the first time that the State of Israel has mobilized to distribute aid to the needy in the United States during the Corona crisis. In a remarkable case of humanitarian partnership, embassy staff from Israel and the United Arab Emirates prepared “winter kits” and “kits to deal with the corona plague” which were distributed to over 100 homeless individuals in the city of Washington DC. This is the first cooperation of its kind between the diplomatic missions of Israel and the Emirates in the spirit of the new “Abraham Accords.”
Tami Ben-Haim, Representative for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Embassy in Washington said:
“I see great symbolism in the fact that the cooperation of the Israeli delegation and the United Arab Emirates in the United States is to help the needy. It’s a message of mutual assistance and “Tikkun Olam” [restoring and repairing the world]. It shows that the fruits of peace will affect the citizens of Israel and the Emirates as well as many other people in the world. “
Also in Brazil
The consulate general of Israel in San Paulo, Brazil also distributed food to the needy in the city’s poor areas as part of the “From Israel with Love” project. A food truck distributed Israeli fast food at two spots in downtown San Paulo: in the Mohino area and the Container Theater area, places known for crime – mainly drug trafficking (including “Crack Square”). Many homeless and needy people live there who have badly affected by the corona epidemic. As part of the activities, the consulate distributed 1000 meals of “Arais.” Arais is the official name for the Lebanese dish which they also called ‘Israeli pita with meat’.
For the benefit of the activity, Israeli chef Nir Baruch prepared the meals in the food truck and together with the consul general in San Paulo, Alon Lavie and his deputy, distributed the food to the locals.
The event was held in collaboration with the City Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs as well as with civic organizations and local community leaders. As part of the cooperation, they assisted in bringing in workers and volunteers and also allocated a police force to help. This made it possible to distribute the food to the needy in an orderly manner throughout the day. Five hundred needy people came to each distribution spot.
A few days earlier, the consulate donated food baskets to two communities in the area – Helio Polis and Villa Prodenta. Consulate General Alon Lavi distributed the baskets to the needy alongside leaders of local communities.