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Israel Joins the Board of UNICEF

Israel Joins the Board of UNICEF

Communicated by MFA Spokesperson’s Bureau

Israel’s term as a member of the Board of Directors of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) begins on January 1, 2013. This is the third time Israel will be serving on the board of this important and prestigious organization – after a hiatus of more than 40 years.

UNICEF, which operates in approximately 200 countries, is an international humanitarian organization concerned with children’s welfare, providing children around the world with clean water, proper nutrition, education, emergency relief in disaster areas, etc.

The organization was founded in 1946 by the United Nations at the initiative of Dr. Ludwik Rajchman, a Polish Jewish doctor. Dr. Rajchman’s original idea, to tend to the needs of children in war-torn Europe during World War II, developed into an international organization that set as its purpose to aid all children everywhere.

The connection between UNICEF and Israel began in 1948, when the organization answered a call to provide humanitarian aid to the new state and to supply food, blankets, vaccines and medical equipment for the care of children and their mothers.

Later, from 1951 to 1959, Israel served on the UNICEF Board of Directors in the capacity of a developing country. In 1955, Israel chaired the Board, in the person of Ms. Zina Harman, wife of Israel’s ambassador to the United States and a member (until 1955) of the Israeli delegation to the UN.

Ms. Harman represented Israel on the UNICEF Executive Board from 1963 to 1965, accepting a Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on behalf of the organization. In 1969, she founded the Israeli Fund for UNICEF, a volunteer-led education and fundraising organization. By this time, Israel, once aided by UNICEF, had become one of its supporters, joining a long list of Western member states.

Israel maintains excellent relations with UNICEF. The Israeli Fund for UNICEF, from its office in Tel Aviv, has raised millions of shekels for the organization’s activities for the benefit of the world’s children. Israel is also a partner with the organization in various aid programs geared for third-world countries.

Israel will serve on the UNICEF Board for twelve months and Israel’s delegates – Foreign Ministry staff – intend to take an active role in the discussions and management of the organization.


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