January 18, 2010
In the midst of the tragedy and chaos in the Haitian capital, Israeli doctors, part of IsraAID -F.I.R.S.T. (the Israel Forum for International Aid), delivered a healthy baby boy in an IDF field hospital. When the baby's grateful mother, Gubilande Jean Michel saw her newborn son, alive and well, she named him Israel
in gratitude to the people and nation who brought her this blessing.
Little Israel is one of the hundreds who have been saved by Israeli doctors or rescue teams. A search and rescue team from the ZAKA Israel's International Rescue Unit pulled eight Haitian college students from a collapsed eight-story university building. Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to quake-stricken Haiti. Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. In fact, they were the first foreign backup team to set up medical treatment at the partially collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince. Yigal Palmor, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "It's a large delegation and we're prepared to send more."
The international agencies that condemn Israel for its "disproportionate response" when it is attacked are not mentioning Israel's disproportionate response to human suffering. The U.S. has pledged 100 million and sent supplies and personnel. The U.K. pledged $10 million and sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers.
China, a country with a population of 1,325,639,982 compared to Israel's 7.5 million sent 50 rescuers and seven journalists. The 25 Arab League nations sent nothing.
Israel's "disproportionate" response stems from Jewish memory and tradition. Mati Goldstein, head of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation managed described the scene, "Everywhere, the acrid smell of bodies hangs in the air. It's just like the stories we are told of the Holocaust - thousands of bodies everywhere. You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension." At the start of Sunday's regular Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli team had already treated hundreds of patients. "I think that this is in the best tradition of the Jewish People; this is the true covenant of the State of Israel and the Jewish People," he said. "This follows operations we have carried out in Kenya and Turkey; despite being a small country, we have responded with a big heart. The fact is, I know, that this was an expression of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish ethic of helping one's fellow. "
In the rubble and suffering of Haiti, Israelis are relentlessly searching for and saving lives. It is this "disproportionate response" that rankles their enemies the most, for it shines a light on their failings.