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Aid chief concerned over 'donor fatigue'

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A leading Israeli aid worker says he is baffled by diaspora Jewry's resistance to efforts to enlist its support in combating the disease.

"We are approaching mainstream Jewish organisations all over the world, including the UK. The question that raises eyebrows is why is the world engaged on Ebola, but the Jewish community is not," said Shachar Zahavi, founding director of IsraAid.

He added: "All the Jewish communities and foundations I'm talking to - and that's almost everyone - said there's donor fatigue and they are not going to get involved."

The response of Jewish organisations had been in stark contrast to that which he had received after previous international crises.

"With disasters in Haiti and the Philippines, the Jewish community was very engaged alongside others.

Everyone's eyes is on this battle. It's crucial for Jews to be a part of it

"This time no one is taking up the gauntlet and helping Ebola victims. It's very strange and the question is why."

It was, he said, the first time that he has encountered such apathy. It was particularly bewildering given the interest in fighting the disease expressed by high-profile Jewish figures such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

IsraAid plans to work on the ground for two years, which will require a budget of $4 million - but despite the massive publicity surrounding the epidemic it has raised only $800,000 since it began.

Mr Zahavi said: "Everyone's eyes are on the battle against Ebola and it is really crucial for us to be a part of it. Israel and the Jewish people cannot stand on the side - it does not look good."

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