Israeli Businesses Efforts to Aid Gazans Sputters

Israeli industrialists try to provide assistance to residents of Gaza Strip, campaign met with mixed responses.

Moti Kimche

An initiative by a number of members of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, which has the support of the organization’s president, to provide humanitarian assistance to residents of the Gaza Strip, has been unsuccessful so far.

The group has promised to try again after the fighting in Gaza ends.

The move received a mixed reaction from members of the professional organization — some business owners welcomed the idea, while others opposed it. At least for now it appears that the Gazans themselves are reluctant to accept donations of goods from Israel.

According to an email that was circulated, a number of businesses approached the head of the association, Zvi Oren, expressing concern of a negative public reaction if they attempted to provide the aid directly and therefore asked that it be done through the association. Oren responded positively and circulated the request to his membership.

“A call went out for members to provide items such as clothing, medicine and food, and not many [businesses] cooperated with the initiative,” said one business representative. “You can understand this. I give first of all at home and not to Gaza.”

Sources said some members said that the Israeli business sector would be seen in a positive light for providing the assistance to residents of the Gaza Strip, and that the world would see that the citizenry in Israel does not view Gazans as enemies. Other association members were less enthusiastic, noting the relatively small response to the e-mail and the weak prospect of getting the goods into the Gaza Strip.