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There are some people in my local community that are planning a fundraiser to support people affected by the conflict in Israel and Gaza. 

I was hoping to encourage them to support impactful charities working in that area but I know next to nothing about charities working in Israel or Gaza, much less about ones that would specifically provide assistance during a conflict. Note that I don't plan on trying to convince anyone to give to other charities (e.g., GiveDirectly, AMF, StrongMinds) at this time. 

My current considerations are:

  • Israelis are probably (relatively) well supported and taken care of by the government of Israel. 
  • Residents of Gaza are probably experiencing worse conditions, which I expect to deteriorate as Israel continues attacks on military targets inside of Gaza (which are often in very densely populated residential areas). 
  • So aid to residents of Gaza seem likelier to be relatively more effective IF they reach their intended recipients. It's unclear how big an IF this is. It seems like a legitimate concern that Hamas could expropriate aid intended to civilian residents of Gaza. 
    • Given concerns about expropriation, I wonder if larger aid organizations (Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, etc.) would actually be more protected than smaller ones. 

Please challenge these thoughts if you disagree or correct me if I'm wrong. I have very weak views and would just like to give better advice to some local donors. 

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If someone knew personally a couple of good, switched on people running a small NGO on the ground (potentially EA adjacent people), my insinct would be to go for that as it will likely be more efficient and well targeted than later scale efforts

From my experience in the aid world, MSF do an amazing job of counterfactually providing medical care where noone else does or can. In difficult conflict situations I suspect their cost effectiveness may sometimes be surprisingly high as there are likely to be many people who would have died if they weren't there.

My instincts and prior research has pushed me away from most BINGOs (big international NGOs) like world vision, care international, save the children etc as they are inefficient generalists, without special expertise and are more inclined to follow the whims of donor money with their work rather than double down on their competitive advantage or high impact work on the margins. I don't see why this would be different in a warzone.

Hi Nick,

Here is a suggestion for a local NGO: Physicians for Human Rights Israel
Their 2022 Impact Report.
Their response to the current crises. 

Disclaimer: I know a person working at the organization; as far as I know the org isn't evaluated by charity evaluators. But I have been following their work, I have donated to them and I deeply admire their approach. I am not aware of a local initiative that is evaluated by charity evaluators - if anyone has any resources, I'd be curious to learn more. 

As for other organizations working in Gaza, my contac... (read more)

GiveWell's previously recommended MSF as a good disaster relief org, so that would be my best guess. I'd love to know more, though.  

Charity Navigator has published a list of trustworthy, disaster relief organizations working in the area: https://www.charitynavigator.org/discover-charities/where-to-give/israel-hamas-conflict/

They only evaluated one organization for impact and gave it a perfect score, but don't show their work: https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/453782061

Knowing nothing else, you could select a few promising orgs from that bucket, but I wouldn't give them the label of being "highly effective". Maybe the best thing to do is even to support groups in Israel that advocate for a more humanitarian military response.

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:14 PM

I really like this frame of "given these constraints, how can we do the most good?", and I think EA doesn't do enough of that.

Giving the standard EA answer: Usually, people in crisis situations are less neglected than the global poor, that also lack access to clean water and healthcare. Right now, millions of people are thinking about how they can help Palestinians. So you should still prefer donating to e.g. GiveWell recommendations.

However, that misses the point that there are cheap effectiveness improvements you can unlock by slightly improving your friends' decision making and having them select a better Palestinian org.

The Israeli government is functioning very badly at the moment. Most relief efforts are organised by citizen groups, particularly ones involved in the ongoing protests against the government (which are now on hiatus).

There's an effort by EAs here in Israel to map effective initiatives, but it's just started yesterday I think.

The Gazan government and conditions are both probably much much worse though.

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