Israelis Plan Long-Term Help for Devastated Filipinos

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- A four-member team from the Israel Relief Coalition left Tel Aviv this week to assess the ongoing needs in the Philippines.

"Our first delegation was for rescue and emergency medical and they came back and now we want to create a program, a plan, for the long term," Naama Shilo told CBN News.

This coalition includes more than 15 humanitarian and other Israeli organizations. CBN's Operation Blessing will help with logistics and more.

"We want to cooperate in the field with the mayor, the local mayor, with the government and with Operation Blessing, CBN, to make the assessment together hand-by-hand and to plan the program for the long-term and to see which one take what part," Shilo explained.

That will include programs to help people get their lives back on track.

"The psychosocial program means that we are going to work with the parents, the educators [and] all the people who sort of sew together the fabric of society," trauma expert Dr. Rony Berger told CBN News.

Berger said Israelis bring a lot of experience to the table.

"You want to mobilize the person and turn him from being a helpless individual into being pro-active," he continued. "You can't take away the pain of losing someone or losing a house -- that's a significant thing. But you can see the future and you can develop hope."

Berger said Israelis have a special connection with the Philippines.

"Most of the elderly in Israel are cared for by Filipinos, women, as my mother, so I think we're indebted to them on some level," he said.

There will also be sacrifices made, such as Dr. Sharon Shaul, who must leave her four children to serve for several weeks.

"We take some medicines, antibiotics, some vaccinations, this is the basic," Shaul said. "But the main thing we are taking is us. We intend to give what we can. We have our knowledge, our goodwill, actually."

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CBN News
Julie Stahl and John Waage

Julie Stahl and John Waage

CBN News Middle East Bureau

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