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Magen David Adom Signs Deal With Indonesian First-Response Org.

Indonesia's second-largest Islamic movement signed an agreement Wednesday night in Tel Aviv with Israel's Magen David Adom.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 10/30/2008, 10:53 PM

photo: MDA

The Indonesian Rescue and Emergency Organization, run by that nation's second-largest Islamic movement,
Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah, signed an agreement Wednesday night in Tel Aviv with Israel's first-response organization, Magen David Adom (MDA). The deal was penned in the shadow of serious jihadist threats against Indonesia, which is home to the world's largest Muslim population.

As Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, the agreement was formally signed by representatives of Muhammadiyah. However, the Islamic reformist organization operates dozens of clinics, hospitals, orphanages, schools and universities in Indonesia, and has been recognized by the Indonesian government and by international organizations. The head of Muhammadiyah, Dr. Sudibyo Markus, was the most senior Indonesian representative to make an official visit to Israel.

"I am 76 years old," Dr. Markus said at the signing ceremony, "and I am pleased that I have succeeded in fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to come to Israel."

The main points of the $200,000 agreement concern sharing knowledge in emergency medical services and planning work protocols for the Indonesian health system. The practical and managerial knowledge will be implemented by internationally-recognized MDA specialists. The Indonesians will share their experience in preparing for, and responding to, natural disasters.

The Chairman of MDA's Board of Directors, Dr. Noam Ifrach, emphasized the significance of the agreement, which he said will will contribute to continuing positive relations between MDA and Muhammadiyah. "We hope that, by the signing of this agreement between MDA and Indonesia, cooperation will be expanded to other fields. We expect that it will strengthen bilateral relations on all levels," Dr. Ifrach said.

The agreement was signed by the head of the Indonesian Rescue and Emergency Service, Prof. Aryono Pusponegoro, Dr. Ifrach, MDA Director-General Eli Bin and Dr. Markus, who was MDA's Guest of Honor.

Cooperation between MDA and the Indonesian rescue and emergency organization began approximately one year
"I am pleased that I have succeeded in fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to come to Israel." -- Muhammadiyah head, Dr. Markus
ago, with the arrival of a delegation of Indonesian health and community organization officials for an MDA course in Israel.

On the Backdrop of Jihadist Threats
As Muhammadiyah was concluding a humanitarian health care agreement with MDA, other Muslims in Indonesia were advocating jihad and terrorism.

Indonesia is now under a severe threat of attack and kidnapping as a result of its planned execution of three al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists responsible for the 2002 multi-pronged bombing attack in Bali, which killed 202 people. The Bali bombers have called for their deaths to be "avenged" by their co-religionists.

Terrorism analysts from the US- and Israel-based Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) said that while Indonesia is likely to be the location of revenge attacks, Indonesian assets worldwide may well be in the jihadists' sights. The ITRR analysts noted that Southeast Asian jihadists issued worldwide calls requesting the targeting of Indonesian citizens for kidnapping, while the Australian government has advised its citizens to avoid travel to Indonesia at this time.