Rabbi's aid scheme wins political backing


Shadow International Development Secretary Ivan Lewis saluted the work of a global aid organisation founded by a United Synagogue rabbi at a Commons reception on Monday.

Rabbi Yossi Ives of Richmond Synagogue set up Tag International Development to deliver Israeli medical, agricultural and other practical expertise elsewhere.

The charity already has programmes in more than a dozen countries including Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Jordan and Kenya.

Mr Lewis said the initiative could be "a massively powerful way of breaking down some of the mistrust" towards Israel and combating delegitimisation of the country.

"Israel has so much to offer, not only to its neighbours but the rest of the world," he said.

A group of Indonesian Muslims recently visited Israel to look at home care of the elderly. The Israeli Nature Authority has agreed to provide its cyber-navigation system free to park rangers in Sri Lanka.

Jordanian Ambassador Mazen Kemal Homoud was among the guests, along with MPs Brooks Newmark and Luciana Berger.

In a message of support, the rabbi's local MP, Zac Goldsmith, said Tag had "already achieved so much" since its launch last year.

Also present were representatives of some of Tag's international partners such as the Georgian Red Cross and Sarvodaya from Sri Lanka, as well as from local Jewish charities like Magen David Adom UK and Tzedek.

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