Humanitarian Aid, Security and Ethics

The Rise of a New Humanitarian Governance at Home

  • Hedva Eyal Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Limor Samimian-Darash The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Nadav Davidovitch School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev


The article examines the relationship between humanitarianism, security, and ethics in the case of the provision of medical humanitarian aid by Israel to casualties from the Syrian civil war, between 2013 and 2018. We argue that this humanitarian project differs from the type of humanitarian intervention commonly seen in conflict zones and can be identified as a new form of humanitarian governance. Our case study deals with humanitarian care provided in the country of origin of the medical and security forces involved, rather than in the country of the injured. In this articulation of humanitarianism at home a new nature of life governance and new subjects of security, emerge. We argue that the politics of life shifts and is subordinated to two different ethical frameworks founded on two different logics: that of the human (as in the type of medical treatment seen in traditional humanitarian aid provision, which is often related to short-term immediate treatment) and that of the citizen (the standard of care provided to all official residents of Israel. The conflict between these two moralities, the shifting standard of medical treatment, and the new medical-security space – together, raise a new set of ethical and political questions.

. Security Guard at hospital Taken by - Eran Gilvarg (Walla News)