- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

An Israeli nonprofit began working in Jordan early this year to aid Syrian refugees displaced by the civil war, but tensions between Israel and Syria have forced aid workers to remain unidentified and remove the word “Jewish” from all donated materials.

IsraAid said it has provided approximately $100,000 worth of food, clothing and other supplies to refugees from Syria, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Most aid workers interviewed requested anonymity, as did the Jordanian NGO that has partnered with IsraAid. Working with Israelis, it said, could endanger their work and the lives of the refugees they help, The Post reported.

Workers remove the word “Jewish” from all supplies before handing them out.

“We don’t announce with trumpets that we’re Israeli,” one worker told The Post. “There’s no need for that. Once you let that cat out of the bag, everything starts to blow up.”

Shachar Zahavi, IsraAid’s founding director, hopes that within a month IsraAid can bring social workers to Mafraq to help refugees cope with emotional distress.

Israelis, he told The Post, are experts in trauma care after decades of dealing with terror attacks.

“My main agenda is to put Israelis on the ground around the world and show the world that Israel cares about them,” he said.

The aid worker said that when refugees discover the donations are Israeli, they are still grateful for the help.

“You’re talking about hungry people,” she said. “These people are in a dire situation. If I hand someone a can of tuna, do they really care where it’s coming from?”

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