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Yotam Polizer is saving the world, one community at a time

CM 10/10/2021

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Yotam Polizer loves to travel. Already, the Israeli native has traveled extensively through Asia, Europe, Africa and the US Polizer also loves to help people, which led him to join, and eventually run an organization that has provided humanitarian aid in all of those regions.
As the Global CEO of IsraAID, a coalition of Israeli nonprofits that provides disaster relief and international development in vulnerable communities, Polizer believes in the power of helping communities get back on their feet while also showing a side of Israel that few people see. 
In a conversation with Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) IsraelCast host Steven Shalowitz, Polizer points out that while many people see Israel’s success in the tech industry and private sector, IsraAID brings those innovations to places of the world that desperately need it.
“I see IsraAID as the social humanitarian wing of the start-up nation,” said Polizer. “Our goal is to take Israeli expertise, Israeli technology and models developed in Israel and bring it to the world’s most vulnerable communities.”
What separates IsraAID from other relief organizations is their ability to provide long-term development in addition to immediate relief. 
“Unfortunately, what happens in these disaster areas is that after the disaster, the media is there and everyone is sending donations and supplies and volunteers, but after a week or two, 90% of this is gone, and the local population is left traumatized and abandoned by the international community,” said Polizer. “We realized that for us in Israel it’s not just important to be the first on the ground, it’s also very important to stay after everyone leaves.”
An IsraAID volunteer supports a refugee in Greece (Courtesy: IsraAID)An IsraAID volunteer supports a refugee in Greece (Courtesy: IsraAID)
When IsraAID decides to provide support to an area, they will first send a small team that includes several specialists to conduct a rapid assessment of what is needed and what potential partnerships they can form. According to Polizer, finding partners on the ground is always a priority.
“Usually, even before we touch the ground, we try to be in touch with local partners in order to gain a better understanding of what the situation is,” he says, pointing out that the end goal is to bolster their partners’ capabilities so that they can support their own communities in the long run.
IsraAID generally provides humanitarian aid in four main areas: medical support, psychological support, water technology and education. They currently have teams in 17 countries, and they have assisted in crises that include the tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in Haiti and even the Syrian refugee crisis in Germany.
For the Syrian refugee crisis, Polizer relied, even more than usual, on the many Arab Israelis that IsraAID employs. “Their professional skills, cultural understanding and ability to speak the language prove to be incredible assets,” he says.
While Polizer is quick to point out that, as an NGO, IsraAID is neither a government entity nor funded by the government, he still believes in its power to show the world what Israel is all about. “The response we get around the world is 99% positive,” he said. “For many people, this is their first time meeting Israelis, so this an opportunity for us to build bridges.” 
Polizer, who also spoke on a panel for JNF-USA’s Conversations on Zionism, says he views his work with IsraAID as an extension of his Zionism.
“Zionism, for me, is about responsibility,” he said. “Israel and Jewish people have so much to share with the world, especially vulnerable communities. So that’s what Zionism is about.”
In addition to his Zionism, Polizer is motivated by the resiliency he sees from the vulnerable communities he visits, believing in their ability – to not just recover – but grow stronger from the experience.
“We’ve seen humanity in the worst situation you can think of, but we see long term the possibility for people to not just get back on their feet, but build back better on an individual level, community level and national level.”
JNF-USA’s IsraelCast comes out every other Wednesday at jnf.org/israelcast and is available wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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