Angela Merkel to give Israeli aid charity top German honour for helping refugees
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Angela Merkel to give Israeli aid charity top German honour for helping refugees

IsraAid will receive Integration Award for its 'bridge building' project, which provides support for refugee women living in shelters

  • The School of Peace, Lesbos. Photo - Lisa Kristine
    The School of Peace, Lesbos. Photo - Lisa Kristine
  • Susan Sarandon visits IsraAID's program in Germany, 2017
    Susan Sarandon visits IsraAID's program in Germany, 2017
  • Providing lifesaving care on the shores of Lesbos. Photo - Boaz Arad
    Providing lifesaving care on the shores of Lesbos. Photo - Boaz Arad
  • New Arrivals on the shores of Lesbos. Photo - Boaz Arad
    New Arrivals on the shores of Lesbos. Photo - Boaz Arad
  • IsraAID's team in Lesbos meeting refugees as they arrive on the shore. Photo - Martin Divisek
    IsraAID's team in Lesbos meeting refugees as they arrive on the shore. Photo - Martin Divisek
  • IsraAID's Kompass program supports leadership groups of young refugees as they develop their own community projects
    IsraAID's Kompass program supports leadership groups of young refugees as they develop their own community projects
  • IsraAID program in Germany
    IsraAID program in Germany
  • IsraAID Germany program with refugees
    IsraAID Germany program with refugees
  • Early childhood education for young refugees in Thessaloniki. Photo - Mickey Noam-Alon
    Early childhood education for young refugees in Thessaloniki. Photo - Mickey Noam-Alon
  • Children share treats in the School of Peace, Lesbos. Photo Credit - Lisa Kristine
    Children share treats in the School of Peace, Lesbos. Photo Credit - Lisa Kristine
  • At the end of the school day, the students at the School of Peace return home to refugee camps. Photo - Lisa Kristine
    At the end of the school day, the students at the School of Peace return home to refugee camps. Photo - Lisa Kristine
  • Art therapy for refugee children in Germany
    Art therapy for refugee children in Germany

An Israeli humanitarian aid organisation is to be given one of Germany’s highest honours by Chancellor Angela Merkel for its work helping refugees.

IsraAID, which has been operating in Germany since 2015, will receive the Integration Award on Monday for its Brückenbau (“Bridge Building”) project, providing psychological support in Arabic for at-risk refugee women living in shelters.

The refugees IsraAID helps are typically Syrian, Iraqi and Afghani, and the programme is run in conjunction with German-based Jews, in partnership with ZWST, the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany.

With Arabic, Hebrew, German and English speakers, IsraAID’s team comprises psychologists, social workers, art therapists and educators, the organisation now having helped support more than 100,000 refugees in Greece and Germany alone.

“Through our work, we have seen the power and potential of the refugees we work with as they write a new story for themselves and their communities,” said joint IsraAID chief executives Yotam Polizer and Navonel Glick.

Susan Sarandon visits IsraAID’s program in Germany, 2017

“Only through working together with communities experiencing crisis can we build a better future, both for refugees and their hosts. We stand committed to this cause, and IsraAID will continue to support the needs of refugees and their hosts in the countries we work in for as long as we are needed.”

In the most remarkable humanitarian act in recent memory, Germany opened its doors to one million asylum seekers and refugees at the height of the crisis, as ISIS and other jihadists fought the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian backers.

The war brought havoc and bloodshed across much of Syria and Iraq and caused the biggest mass movement of people this century. Most European countries denied all but token entry.

IsraAID’s team in Lesbos meeting refugees as they arrive on the shore. Photo – Martin Divisek

Jewish groups in the UK, led by Kinder and Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs, have consistently asked Downing Street to allow more unaccompanied children in, but have been left disappointed.

IsraAID, which most recently deployed a team to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, has focused its efforts on the global refugee crisis, with teams in Bangladesh, Germany, Greece, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda. It is an NGO and relies on donations.

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