Sunday, January 24, 2010

JPost: Israel is looking to adopt orphans from Haiti

From the Jerusalem Post Website:

Israel is looking into adopting Haitians orphaned by the January 12 earthquake, Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog.

"We see this as part of Israel's humanitarian outreach," Herzog said, referring to the IDF medical operation and the Israeli rescue efforts in the Caribbean nation.

"Haiti was one of the countries that supported us on November 29, 1947, [in the UN vote on the establishment of the state], and now it's our turn to support them," he said.

Representatives of the Foreign and Welfare ministries held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the fine details of possible adoptions. The Welfare Ministry's Child Welfare Services division is responsible for overseeing all international adoptions in Israel.

While Israel already has agreements with several countries such as China and Russia on the procedure for international adoptions, with nearly 200 children per year adopted, no such protocol exists with Haiti, Herzog said.

He added that Israel's ambassador to the neighboring Dominican Republic, Amos Radian, had already started looking into reaching an agreement with Haitian authorities to begin adoptions as soon as possible.

"We first need an agreement with the country's government," explained Herzog. "However, with all the chaos in Haiti, this could take a while."

He said Israel would work with local charities operating in the disaster zone to identify children who need adopting and highlighted that families in Israel had already come forward offering to adopt Haitian children.

On Friday, UNICEF warned that the possibility of child trafficking following the earthquake had become a significant concern. Many children separated from parents have become vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation, it said.

In Israel, families who adopt children from abroad receive €22,000 ($31,097) from the state to help cover the high international adoption fees. Herzog said that all children adopted from Haiti would undergo the standard conversion process to Judaism.


Israel is taking the moral initiative once again. We had the fastest and best run field hospital in the Haiti relief effort and are even going the extra step to be a light unto the nations. Hopefully this example can be followed with the Israeli response to the Sudanese community as well.

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