-ISRAEL AND INDONESIA continue to strenghten their ties



“Cooperation was made as Israel is home to the world’s leading experts in medical emergencies,” said Indonesian official.

“This is how you make peace. As soon as politics comes into it and politicians get involved the whole thing falls apart,” responded Magen David Adom chairman Noam Yifrach.

NOVEMBER 13, 2008- mdaindonesiaAlthough not well publicised at the time, last year jewishinfonews reported that Israel and Indonesia had reached an important economic breakthrough following the signing of a trade agreement by the Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

Now, a report published last week in Indonesia’s Jakarta Post, said an Indonesian delegation had visited Israel to sign a medical cooperation agreement with Israel’s national emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) and the American-Israel Joint Distribution Committee.

The US$200,000 agreement involved Sudibyo Markus, deputy chairman of Muhammadiyah, which, with some 30 million members, is Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization.

“This is how you make peace. As soon as politics comes into it and politicians get involved the whole thing falls apart,” Yifrach was quoted as saying. “I believe this could lead to a process of eventual diplomatic relations between the two countries,” he added.

The Indonesian delegation was led by Prof. Aryono Pusponegoro from the University of Indonesia, who chairs both the 118 Emergency Ambulance Service Foundation and the Indonesian College of Surgeons.

The Muhammadiyah runs dozens of clinics, hospitals, orphanages, schools and universities across Indonesia, which are recognized by the government as well as international organizations.

Visit seen to promote interfaith dialogue

Sudibyo said the accord, signed with MDA chairman Noam Yifrach on October 30, was a cooperation between Israel and Indonesia regarding humanitarian emergency health services.

The visit was also intended to promote an “interfaith” dialog between the Jewish state and the world’s largest Muslim nation, he added.

The agreement was preceded by a week-long MDA course on the “management of multi-casualty incidents”, something that the two countries sadly share a need for. A group of 23 leading Indonesian health system professionals attended the course.

Yifrach and the MDA coordinator of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, David Abadi, came to Jakarta in September to finalize plans for the Indonesian doctors to take part in the training.

Sudibyo said the cooperation was made as Israel is home to the world’s leading experts in medical emergencies.

Indonesian medics and paramedics to train in Israel

“I was interested in going there to learn about its medical emergency services system,” he said. “In India it takes some 30 minutes for an ambulance to bring a victim to hospital, while in Israel it takes a maximum of 10 minutes,” he added.

The accord will lead to the training of Indonesian medics and paramedics in Israel and at home.

Sudibyo said the Indonesian doctors who were trained in Tel Aviv would pass their knowledge on to other paramedics upon returning home.

The recent exchange visits between Indonesia and Israel are rare events, since the two countries have no diplomatic ties.

“When there are people-to-people interactions, and personal relationships being built, things start happening,” Aryono said.

(Photo credit: Magen David Adom)

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