As a result of her brother’s severe injuries during the Lebanon War she made a promise that if he “comes out of it” she will change her way of life. “He left the hospital after a year of rehabilitation and I secretly flew to Africa for my first-ever genocide,” she said, smiling.
Since then, there were money bloodsheds and natural disasters. The tsunami in Sri Lanka, floods in Georgia, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, an earthquake in Indian Kashmir and so on. Lusky, the 40-year-old founder and head of the Israeli Flying Aid Organization helps wherever she can.
Since 2004, Lusky has been assisting disaster-ridden populations with conflict resolution, provisions and medical and psychological assistance for trauma.
“We mainly supply aid to places which Israel is unable to send assistance to due to a lack of diplomatic ties,” she explained. “As a civilian, independent group we are bound only by our conscience, we don’t ask for governmental permission in order to act and it is technically difficult to prevent us from entering.”
‘Volunteers have survivability’
The organization’s volunteers come from all walks of Israeli life including trauma therapists, logisticians, doctors, Jews, Christians, Druze and Bedouins. The hardcore participants entail about 100 people who are alerted and act immediately in the case of an emergency. They leave their homes, families and work, at their own expense and completely voluntarily go out to the field.
“The volunteers have their own survivability while in hostile environs and they understand the risks and choose them wisely. Physical wounds, fast-spreading diseases in disaster areas and arrests in volatile regions are part of their and their families’ routines,” said Lusky a mother of a ten-year-old child herself.
Lusky claims that time and again she has heard that, “charity begins at home,” and she does not argue with this claim. She believes that contributing within Israel’s confines is a civil obligation and not a choice.
“All our activists volunteer first and foremost in Israel. In addition, they understand the necessity of unconditional giving to complete strangers, even if they are from what is considered a part of a hostile population to Israel.
“They consider the assistance they provide abroad as a privilege. A child is a child and is never to blame for his parents, for the color of his skin or for the religion to which he belongs,” she said.
‘Time is Life’
The IFA is subsidized by contributions from an array of organizations including the American-Jewish Committee (AJC) the Israeli companies Suny and Lotus, the Joint and worldwide Jewish federations.
In order to prevent delay of assistance during real time, Lusky works to secure funds for the organization before a disaster occurs. “There is no time during an emergency, people die. In the business world time is money, but in our world time is life and you can’t gain or fix life when it’s gone,” she said.
Lusky and the IFA are in need of additional volunteers, especially in Israel. “Secretarial abilities can greatly ease our work here,” she explained. “In addition, I need writers with outstanding English, almost diplomatic, who can connect the organization with donors worldwide, and who know what titles to give to each leader.”