Israeli representative defends Tzu Chi's relief work in China

CNA, December 17, 2007

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Israeli Representative to Taiwan Raphael Gamzou has defended the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation's relief work in China, saying that the resources the foundation uses in China go towards aiding humanitarian projects.

In an interview with the Central News Agency, Gamzou, who assumed his position in Taipei in September 2006, took issue with recent criticisms that Tzu Chi should not have used local resources to help people in China -- a hostile neighbor.

Gamzou became a Tzu Chi recycling volunteer after being deeply moved by Tzu Chi's humanitarian projects throughout the world. He is often seen dressed in a T-shirt working with other volunteers in Taipei's Jianghu Jade Market on weekends.

The Israeli quasi-ambassador in Taipei stressed that the Tzu Chi spirit of helping people all over the world, irrespective of race, religion, culture or geography, is definitely one of Taiwan's greatest achievements.

Citing an example to explain how humanitarian assistance should transcend conflict and hostility, Gamzou said that despite frequent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants, Israel has been helping the Palestinians to train medical doctors, while Palestinian medical personnel will also provide treatment to Israeli patients in emergency situations.

"The Tzu Chi Foundation deserves support from all of us, and I hope that instead of losing our faith, we will continue to pursue humanitarian, concerns," he said.