USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the USAID-MASHAV Global Partnership MOU Signing


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: First, it is a great honor to join the Foreign Minister here today to celebrate what is yet another milestone in that close partnership between the U.S. and Israel. 

Of course, as the Foreign Minister has said, we are much more than mere partners.  We are true friends.  

It is a friendship that is firmly rooted in our shared values, values of democracy and rule of law, human freedom, and human dignity.  It's also rooted in our intertwined histories.  In fact the very first pilgrims who landed on American shores drew inspiration from the Jewish people, especially the story of Exodus and the journey from exile to emancipation. 

From our earliest days, the U.S. offered Jews the liberty that they had been denied elsewhere.  In 1790, the Jewish congregation of Newport Rhode Island wrote President George Washington to express gratitude to the young country, America, for quote "providing bigotry no sanction, persecution, no assistance," words almost lyrical in their sound and, of course, timeless in their meaning.  Washington replied with affection, assuring the congregation that they would remain forever welcome in America. 

That special affection and admiration binds our countries together even today.  It is a bond that as President Trump has put so beautifully when he visited Jerusalem two years ago.  It is woven together in the hearts of our people, and as he noted, together we have done so much to advance the cause of human freedom, dignity, and peace. 

Today's occasion is an opportunity to celebrate this bond, which has driven all dimensions of our bilateral relationship.  It is also an opportunity to renew and deepen our friendship through even closer collaboration, friendship in action, shared values in operation. 

It's only natural that our two development agencies work together.  After all, we very much share the same vision.  MASHAV's vision to empower other nations to improve their own lives closely parallels USAID's goal of fostering self-reliance.  And fostering self-reliance in people, in communities, and in countries where we work and those whom we assist. 

We share the belief that our program should look forward to the day when they can end.  We look forward to the day when people could take the knowledge and tools that we've offered and lead their own bright future.  And one day, perhaps, they can help others do the same. 

MASHAV itself is an example of how successful this approach can be.  After all, the U.S.-Israel development partnership first began in 1968 with the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program, which provided support to Israel's young healthcare system and academic institutions.  Today, Israel's healthcare is among the very best in the world. And students from across the globe, travel here to study it in many exceptional universities.  

Israel's strong disaster preparedness and response capacity is another example.  For years, USAID provided training and technical capacity building to the Israeli National Emergency Management Agency.  We also offered assistance when disaster struck, like the 2016 wildfires. 

Without our help, Israel is now better positioned to respond to disasters that occur within its borders, but more importantly, to help other disaster affected neighbors in the region.  In these and other areas, Israel offers assistance to other countries so that they can walk down a similar path. 

That arc from recipient to self-reliance, to fellow donor, that perfectly captures what we USAID call journey to self-reliance.  It wasn't easy. Didn't happen overnight, but with firm commitment, some tough decisions, and a little bit of support, we believe that other countries can achieve the same results.

Together, USAID and MASHAV are helping to make that a reality.  We already collaborate to strengthen food security across Africa in places like Ethiopia and Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.  And last year, Israel joined America's Power Africa initiative, which aims to use market-based solutions to help bring electricity to all of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Today, through this MOU, we will take this partnership, this friendship in action, to the next level and pave the way for even greater collaboration in the developing world, particularly across the African continent and in Latin America, but elsewhere too.  By deepening our partnership, we can leverage the unique capacities within each of our agencies to better achieve our mutual goals in developing countries.

MASHAV and the broader Israeli government bring specialized experience in areas like agricultural development, food and water security, and a great deal more.  And they can tap into the impressive innovations and creativity of the Israeli people and private sector. 

Israel's "start-up nation" nickname is well-deserved and it reflects the Israeli people's remarkable ability to identify problems, devise solutions, and overcome challenges.  It's what made this country a global leader in the design and distribution of water conservation, desalination, irrigation, and reuse technologies, among others. That ingenuity has already proven to be a tremendous asset, addressing the developing problems elsewhere.  And in the growing partnership between USAID and MASHAV, we can further harness it to tackle social, economic, and stability challenges in many parts of the world today.  

In December 2014, the U.S. Congress passed bipartisan legislation designating Israel as a major strategic partner of the United States, the only country in the world that has such a designation.  Already this year, the Senate and the House have each passed legislation that would make it official U.S. policy that USAID cooperate with Israel in order to advance common goals across a wide variety of sectors. 

These bills call for us to strengthen our mutual ties and cooperation with nations throughout the world.  Count us in. This MOU is an expression of our shared commitment to strengthen and expand our cooperation, bringing to bear each other's unique expertise and comparative advantage to overcome some of the world's most pressing development challenges.  Together, MASHAV and USAID, we will empower people, communities, and countries to improve their lives, to become self-reliant, and to lead their own bright futures. And I can't think of a more noble mission or better and more important partnership and friendship.  Thank you. 

Last updated: March 30, 2020

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