Stories & Voices
Leadership Command Center in Israel Coordinates Critical Response to Covid-19 Crisis
April 17th, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has left Israelis, like people around the world, confined to their homes. During this difficult time, the leadership command center of MAOZ has provided valuable connections to coordinate solutions in Israel’s diverse communities. MAOZ is a network of 600 leaders and professionals from across Israeli society and a longstanding grantee of UJA. MAOZ is also one of the recipients of UJA’s $1 million emergency funding allocated to several partners to help Israel during this crisis.

The MAOZ command center’s role ranges from the practical to the strategic to providing important channels of communication — and it’s designed to reach all populations in Israel and respond to the unique needs of diverse communities.

Creating Opportunities for Connection

In one local Arab community, families in need received food coupons to help buy groceries at supermarkets. But the large supermarkets that honored these coupons didn’t have any branches in the Arab neighborhood. When Rasool Saada, the Arab Society Lead at MAOZ, learned of this challenge, he reached out to the MAOZ command center, which worked things out so supermarkets and small chains in the Arab community could honor the coupons.

“This emergency has created an opportunity for connections we were not used to,” Rasool says. “We now see, perhaps for the first time, an outstretched hand to help.”

A Focus on Working Together

For Dr. Assi Cicurel, a community doctor in the Negev who has seen firsthand the need for protective equipment for medical teams, MAOZ played a critical role. He received a delivery of protective gear for emergency room doctors and nurses, as well as for clinics, through a MAOZ contact with manufacturers of 3D printers. The company immediately produced the necessary face masks and other gear.

“When you’re part of MAOZ, you’re focused on working together,” he says. “We’re addressing our weaknesses quickly now, but it will help us out later on. The road will be difficult and complex, but we’ll emerge stronger from this episode. This encourages me on difficult days.”

Access to a Lot of Ideas

Sometimes the challenges of the current crisis do not present immediate solutions, as Miri Navon has experienced in her role as director of the Ministry of Education’s Division for Implementation of the Special Education Law.

“Imagine having a Haredi family who has a child with special needs and no internet in their house,” Miri says. “Imagine how a caregiver would send a video invitation to a Bedouin child if his family has no internet infrastructure.”

Through MAOZ’s mobile app groups, Miri gains access to a lot of ideas she can take back to the Ministry of Education and she can keep the ministry informed of compelling issues families need addressed. “There won’t always be answers, but I can serve as a data-transferring pipeline.”

In these days of isolation, the command center at MAOZ is keeping vital communication and connection open in service to growing and evolving needs.

To learn more about MAOZ during this crisis, see this recent video.