IsraAID, an Israeli organization supporting international humanitarian aid, recently sent Israeli singer Nurit Galron to join a delegation to central Africa together with Hollywood actress Mia Farrow.
The delegation is a joint venture conducted by IsraAID in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, UNICEF, and the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The goal of the venture is to raise Israeli awareness to the needs of third-world populations, while at the same time placing Israel on the map of Western countries supplying aid to stricken nations.
Galron joined Farrow, who is UNICEF's goodwill ambassador on the mission, in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is considered one of the five poorest countries on Earth despite its great wealth in diamonds. It borders Chad, Sudan, and Congo, and is home to thousands of refugees struggling through decades of regional turmoil.
“It’s a great honor for me to represent Israel in an intricate region such as Africa," the singer said. Regarding her Hollywood counterpart she had only kind words: "Mia Farrow is an impressive woman who concerns herself with weakened people, and works day and night on humanitarian issues."
She also admitted that her meeting with the somber African existence was not easy. "I soon learned that even the beautiful greenery with all of its exciting colors cannot bring romance to this difficult and forlorn country. There is a cavernous difference between reading papers, dry statistics, numbers, and percentages and seeing it with your own eyes," she said.
Galron is not the only one who believes Israel should be doing more for such destitute populations. Rony Adam, director of the UN Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argued this point. "If we want to belong to the rich countries' club, we have to get used to the thought that we have to give as well," he said.
"We must raise by hundreds of percentage points Israel's aid funds and its assistance to the large UN organizations; those that receive millions of dollars in annual donations from other countries, while Israel satisfies itself by giving only thousands."
Noam Katz, who heads the Hasbara Department at the Foreign Ministry, added that the move would be good for Israel's population and its self esteem. "It's time to take Israel up a notch in the world, and to place its name alongside those of countries that care," he said. "It would do the country and its citizens good. The election of a goodwill ambassador to join the aid organizations in Africa is one of the ways to change Israel's image in the world."