August 19, 2015 By The FellowshipToday is World Humanitarian Day, a great time to focus on the lifesaving aid Israel has provided around the globe over the years – as well as the humanitarian spirit at the very heart of the Jewish state. Within a decade of Israel's founding, the government and its people demonstrated a deep commitment to engage in humanitarian relief efforts and international development programs. In 1958, Israel adopted an official humanitarian aid agenda as a principal element of the country's international cooperation efforts. Over the years, the country has extended international humanitarian aid assistance to more than 140 countries, even to those who do not maintain diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.Israel's humanitarian efforts formally began in 1958, with the establishment of MASHAV, as the Foreign Ministry's Center for International Cooperation, following the first visit of Foreign Minister Golda Meir to Africa. MASHAV assists countries striving to alleviate global problems of hunger, disease and poverty by providing technical training and sharing technology to improve quality of life. In the 1970s, Israel broadened its humanitarian aid agenda by granting safe haven to refugees and foreign nationals in distress - from Vietnam, Bosnia and Kosovo - and more recently from Darfur.