Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shining a light in Haiti

Amid the devastation in Haiti following the massive earthquake there, an improbable story of light and hope emerges. Within a day of the quake, while rich countries much closer to the scene were first gearing up to respond, Israeli teams were on their way to Haiti. They quickly set up a state-of-the-art field hospital in tents in an abandoned soccer field, with x-ray machines, ventilators, the whole nine yards, and went to work delivering care that no others on the scene were prepared to do. The media that usually delight in bashing Israel, are fairly gushing with praise. CNN did a report that went viral all over the internet:

A woman gave birth to a boy in the hospital, and out of gratitude she named him Israel. There were few if any Israelis among the victims. They are doing this because, well, that's just what Israelis do. One of the doctors quoted hazal that a person who saves one life is as if he saved a whole world. I don't think he was particularly "religious." The Kiddush Hashem unfolding is marvelous; the whole world marvels at it. Sooner or later the world will forget and go back to Israel bashing as usual, but the survivors in Haiti are likely to remember who responded to their need with talk and who with action. And even if they don't, there is a seeing eye and a hearing ear, and all is being recorded in an archive more enduring and more consequential than CNN or the New York Times. Finally, this scene gives both our enemies and defeatists among us something to ponder: Where Israel is concerned if you don't believe in miracles you're not a realist.


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