When a disastrous 7.8 magnitude earthquake recently struck southern Turkey and Syria, a number of countries sent search and rescue teams, medical personnel, and emergency supplies. Among the first to do so was Israel.
Israel’s rush to offer aid to those two countries may strike some as puzzling. Syria has never recognized the State of Israel, and in fact considers itself in a state of war against it. Not surprisingly, the Syrian government quickly rejected Israel’s offer.
Israel’s relations with Turkey are more complicated. In 2011, following the Gaza flotilla incident, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador. In 2013, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan called Zionism “a crime against humanity.” In 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador again, this time following protests in Gaza over the U.S. opening of its embassy in Jerusalem. Relations have warmed considerably since then, and the two countries announced the restoration of full diplomatic relations last August. But Turkey continues to openly support Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and has hosted its delegations in 2019 and 2020.
Why does Israel rush to offer aid to countries whose policies are hostile to it?