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Merkel honors German IsraAID branch for social work with women refugees

The award was for giving psychological support in Arabic to at-risk refugee women and others affected by gender-based violence living in shelters, in addition to training and counseling for shelter staff.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel presents the German Federal Government’s Integration Prize, Germany's highest honor for integration, to IsraAID's director in Germany Gal Rachman on Oct. 29, 2018. Credit: Bundesregierung/Plambeck.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel presents the German Federal Government’s Integration Prize, Germany's highest honor for integration, to IsraAID's director in Germany Gal Rachman on Oct. 29, 2018. Credit: Bundesregierung/Plambeck.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented the German branch of the Israel-based humanitarian group IsraAID the German government’s highest honor for integration on Monday.

The award was for giving psychological support in Arabic to at-risk refugee women and others affected by gender-based violence living in shelters, in addition to training and counseling for shelter staff. “The program empowers women living in refugee shelters to build better self-help structures, improve interactions with shelter staff and strengthen personal and child safety,” according to IsraAID.

“The global refugee crisis is among the most pressing humanitarian challenges of our generation,” said Yotam Polizer, co-CEO of IsraAID. “We pay tribute to our fantastic, multicultural and multinational team in Germany, whose work is being recognized today, and to our partnership with ZWST, which makes this program possible.”

He added that “the IsraAID Germany program being honored today—Bridge Building, which works with mostly Syrian and Iraqi refugee women—is a striking testament to the power of our common humanity as we support communities on the journey towards a better future.”

Polizer’s co-CEO, Navonel Glick, said the award comes at a significant time.

“Many members of the IsraAID community are still reeling after the horrifying attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this weekend,” said Glick. “The values of tolerance and compassion promoted by this prize are the antithesis of violence and hate, and a powerful reminder of our humanitarian mission to help those in need, regardless of religion, race or gender.

The award ceremony came just hours after Merkel announced that she would step down as chancellor and head of the CDU party in 2021.

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