Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

September 02, 2013

“All they have to eat is cucumbers”

By Tom Gross

Two years into the Syrian conflict, one of the few countries helping Syrian civilians is Israel, even though officially Syria remains in a decades-old state of war with Israel.

While hospitals across northern Israel continue to treat hundreds of severely wounded Syrian adults and children, Israeli doctors have been smuggled into refugee camps in Jordan and elsewhere, where they continue to perform life-saving operations on wounded Syrians. For security reasons they cannot be filmed.

But some ordinary Israelis have also taken matters into their own hands, smuggling shampoo, soap, toothpaste, laundry detergent, sugar, rice, toys for children and other basic items -- all donated by members of the Israeli public and Israeli supermarket chains -- into Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and elsewhere.

Officially Jordan does not allow Israelis to help Syrians and has threatened the Israelis that do so.

These actions have largely been kept a secret outside Israel in order to protect the Israelis but they have now been revealed on Arab websites, which have compared the help given by Israelis to Syrian refugees to the lack of assistance given by Arabs.

Israel’s Channel 10 television accompanied one group of Israelis, and this 15-minute film is well worth watching if you have time.

As one of the volunteers discovers, all that the Syrians had had to eat before they arrived were cucumbers they picked from the fields

This film was made in early 2012. There have been many more missions since then by members of the Israeli public but out of safety concerns, these have not been filmed.

At the time there were only 50,000 refugees -- today there 2.5 million out of Syria and another 5 million inside Syria.

While some of the Syrians are hostile when they find out their helpers are Israeli Jews, others can be seen in the film saying in Arabic “May God bless Israel”.


There is a follow-up to this dispatch here:

* Israel's secret doctors (& Disabled Gaza toddler lives at Israeli hospital)

Distraught Syrian refugees fleeing


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Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.