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October 24, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 24, 2014 Israeli aid on way tidht Ebola spread MASHAV Dr. Roee Singer of the Health Ministry was welcomed to Cameroon in September to provide preventive training in six hospitals. IsraAID IsraAID's Yotam Polizer, left, with Sierra Leone First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma and policy adviser Sam Bangura. By Abigail Klein Leichman ISRAEL21c--In response to urgent pleas from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the U.S. government and other countries, Israel is sending more than a million shekels' worth of medical equipment, as well as expert personnel to fight the spread of the African Ebola epidemic that has claimed 3,400 lives since March and has infected almost 7,200 people. Gil Haskel, deputy director general of MASHAV-Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry, told ISRAEL21c that many inter- national groups--including IsraAID, the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid--are already working in the affected countries of West Africa to treat patients stricken by hemorrhagic fever caused by the virus. Earlier this week, Israel's Defense Ministry told the U.S. and U.N. that it could not ful- fill a request to send IDF field hospitals to Liberia and Sierra Leone, out of concern for the safety of Israeli health work- ers. MASHAV is answering a different but just as pressing need: prevention. "Our idea was to exer- cise Israel's experience in emergency preparedness in countries that border on those already struck with the epidemic, so as to prevent Ebola from spreading further intoAfrica," Haskel explained. "We have experience in mobile clinics and mobile emergency centers, and that's where we want to lend our as- sistance. We decided we'll be more effective in preventing further spread." Within the next two weeks, MASHAV will ship three mobile emergency Ebola treatment units, equipped to handle the first cases that may be discovered, to the three countries deemed at high- est risk of infection. Those countries will be selected in conjunctionwith the Ministry of Health, he said. "We are constructing the units in accordance with WHO standards and prepar- ing them to be sent out by sea," Haskel said. "We hope they'll be received sometime in November." Each 10-bed unit will be accompanied by an Israeli team including technicians to construct them and train local personnel how to run them, and a doctor and a nurse under the auspices of the Health Ministry. They will train their African counterparts to educate at-risk populations on how to prevent the spread of the disease. Every country has a role to play Haskel said MASHAV al- ready donated protective suits to African Union troops stationed in Ethiopia, and sent two public-health and infectious-disease experts-- Dr. Roee Singer from the Ministry of Health's Public Health Directorate and Dr. Pnina Shitrit from Meir Hos- pital in Kfar Saba--to train personnel at six Cameroon hospitals on precautions to keep citizens from contract- ing the deadly virus. Poor compliance with health authorities and many customary practices are thought responsible for the rapid spread of the virus, so public education is essential. The aid agency also plans to send emergency equipment to the government of Sierra Leone. With support from MASHAV, IsraAID is coop- erating with other inter- national agencies in Sierra Leone. In partnership with First Lady Sia Nyama Ko- roma, IsraAID teams are training local communities about steps each person can take to protect against infection, and about man- aging the stress caused by widespread fear of the virus and its survivors. IsraAID personnel used similar anti- stress techniques to help refugees in Jordan, Bulgaria and South Korea. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told a Security Council in September that just as Israel answered the call for humani- tarian aid in Haiti, Ghana and the Philippines, "Israel is ready for the new challenge standing before the world, and has started providing funds and medical equipment." Prosor declared, "The time for global action is now. Tens of thousands of lives and the future of West Africa hang in the balance. Every country, no matter how small, has a role to play in combating the Ebola epidemic. We are standing at a crossroad. In our generation global health and development goals that once seemed unattainable are now within our reach." Open Hillel holds first conference at Harvard Gili Getz A representative of Jewish Voice for Peace speaking with a student at the Open Hillel conference at Harvard University, Oct. 12, 2014. By Batya Ungar-Sargon CAMBRIDGE, Mass. OTA)--Harvard senior Ra- chel Sandalow-Ash scanned the exuberant crowd that packed a campus auditorium on Saturday night. "Wow," she said, speaking to an audience of some 350 composed primarily of Ameri- can college students. "This is amazing. This is really cool." Sandalow-Ash, 21, went on to discuss the importance of nurturing a pluralistic and intellectually diverse Jewish community. "We believe that no one should be excluded because of their views on Israel-Pales- tine, or really for any reason at all. And we believe that real discussions of Israel-Palestine have to include Palestinian voices as well," she said to raucous applause. The crowd had gathered at Harvard for "If Not Now When," the inaugural confer- ence of Open Hillei--a 2-year- old student group that seeks to abolish Hillel International Standards of Partnership rules that prevent campus Hillels from collaborating with people or groups that "delegitimize" the Jewish state, or support efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeted at Israel. Since Hillel adopted the guidelines, the "Standards for Partnership," the Hillels at Swarthmore College, Vassar College and Wesleyan Univer- sity have declared themselves "Open Hillels" and said they would not conform to them. The two-day Open Hillel conference included lectures, panels andworkshops on top- ics such as "Israel/Palestine Politics of College Campuses," "Race in the American Jewish Community," "Intermarriage: Good, Bad, or Neutral for the Jewish People?" and "Philan- thropy and Power: How Big Donors Shape the Agenda in the Jewish World." Speakers at the event in- cluded Rashid Khalidi, a controversial Columbia pro- fessor of Arab studies who was recently barred from speaking at Ramaz High School; gender theorist Judith Butler, a professor at the Uni- versity of California, Berkeley, who has made provocative statements about Israel and its enemies; Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Insti- tute of Religionwho identifies as a "progressive Zionist"; and journalist Peter Beinart, the author of the 2012 book "Crisis of Zionism." Ahost of students and com- munity organizers also spoke and led workshops. In recent years, Hillel In- ternational has made Israel advocacy more central to its mission, launching and grow- ing its Israel Fellows program, bringing to U.S. college cam- puses individuals who have served in the Israeli military and, in 2010, installing the Standards of Partnership. The guidelines preclude campus Hillels from partnering with or hosting groups or speakers deemed hostile to Israel. The organization, whose network serves some 550 college campuses around the world, "views Israel as a core element of Jewish life and a gateway to Jewish identification for students," according to its website. And while it won't partner with organizations that fall beyond the ideological boundaries set forth, such as pro-BDS groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, its leaders have said that all students are welcome at its campus centers and events. Hillel International is not the only organization deter- mined to persuade college students of the importance of being pro-Israel. In 2002, Hillel coordinated with the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foun- dation to establish the Israel on Campus Coalition, whose mission is "to evaluate the worrisome rise in anti-Israel activities on college campuses across North America" and serve as a coordinating body for a host of pro-Israel campus groups. The following year saw the beginning of the David Project, which has a stated aim "to positively shape campus opinion on Israel by educating, training, and em- powering student leaders to be thoughtful, strategic and persuasive advocates." The David Project was started by philanthropist Charles Jacobs, who heads up Americans for Peace and Tol- erance, which is dedicated to exposing Islamic extremism. Hillel on page 15A