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Israel International Relations: International Cooperation

It is Israel's fervent wish to maintain good relations with all countries, with their governments and their peoples... (David Ben-Gurion, 1952)

The State of Israel, a member of the United Nations since 1949, maintains relations with the majority of countries around the world. With memories of centuries of persecution, the shattering experience of the Holocaust and the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel's foreign policy has been geared to advance peace in the region while ensuring the country's security and promoting cooperation with all nations.

Since its establishment, Israel has been eager to share with the international community skills learned from its own development experience. This desire led to the founding, in 1958, of MASHAV - The Center for International Cooperation - as a department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for the planning and implementation of Israel's international cooperation program.

MASHAV's programs are based on the transfer of technological skills and human resource enrichment. Activities are designed to enhance professional skills by combining theory with a practical approach, integrating research with on-site project implementation, and adapting new technologies to meet development priorities of the host countries.

In cooperation with government ministries, professional and academic institutions, and research centers throughout Israel, MASHAV works in partnership with countries in the developing world and with those whose economies are in transition, towards overcoming their respective development challenges in areas such as poverty alleviation, primary health care, food security, early childhood education, combating desertification, gender equality, small and medium enterprises, and integrated rural development.

Since its inception, almost 200,000 men and women have participated in MASHAV's professional training courses conducted in Israel and abroad, and over 10,000 long and short-term Israeli experts have been dispatched to cooperate with their local counterparts in partner countries.

MASHAV works worldwide with some 140 developing countries. Some of MASHAV's activities are conducted in partnership with donor countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, and international assistance agencies, such as FAO, UNDP, WHO and the World Bank.

In the context of the Middle East peace process, MASHAV places priority on establishing development programs with its neighbors, in an effort to promote peaceful cooperation through economic and social development.

Sources: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs