I am constantly incensed that most of the International Community appears unconcerned about (or ignorant of) Israel’s efforts on behalf of the “other” members of its society. So here is a selection of recent news events that you can ever so politely thrust into the hands of anyone criticising the morality of the Jewish State.
I’ll begin with the Palestinian Arabs. Most people are unaware that each and every week Israel delivers over 28,000 tons of merchandiseinto Gaza. In fact it was 39,009 tons last week. The truth is that thousands of Gaza’s medical patients are treated in Israeli hospitals, whilst the terrorist mini-state is still firing rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians. And on the small scale, Israel’s Civil Administration financed a summer camp for 24 Palestinian Arab children suffering from cancer. These included kids from Gaza who, along with their parents, spent four days of fun in the Jordan Park. The park is run by the JNF, which ironically is boycotted by the BDS groups.
Arab citizens of Israel now have their own television channel. After a four-month test period, the programming schedule of Hala TV, Israel's first Arabic TV station, will broadcast 24 hours a day on satellite and cable. And another breath of fresh air has been provided with an Israeli government allocation of NIS 355 million to improve the sewerage systems in Arab neighbourhoods across Israel. Congratulations go to Arza Haddad, the daughter of the late Head of the South Lebanese Army, Saad Haddad, who has just graduated from Israel’s Technion with a Masters degree in Aeronautics. Arza fled to Israel from Lebanon in 1984.
Today, Israel has representatives” in Jordan assisting Syrian refugee children and infants who have been injured in the Syrian military’s violent crackdown throughout the country. And here is some news that you are unlikely to here in the International press. Haifa mayor Yona Yahav confirmed on Al-Jazeera that the Israeli port of Haifa is a key trade route for Iraq. Haifa is much more direct, cost-efficient and safer than the alternative – through the Persian Gulf.
You only need to visit any of Israel’s hospitals to see Jewish and Arab medical staff attending to Jewish and Arab patients in every department. “We are a team here, and there is no difference”, said Palestinian Arab nurse Manar Igbarya at Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. She said that she was accepted at the hospital because “all they cared about was how I do my job”. Further north, the Hospital for Nazareth celebrated its 150th anniversary. Now an Israel Government Hospital, childbirth educator Wendy Blumfield highlighted that audience was Arab Moslem and Christian, Jewish secular and religious.
Israelis give more to charitythan any other country apart from the USA and there are over 26,000 charitable organisations in the Jewish State. One of those is Yad Sarah, which provides equipment and support to the disabled, elderly, and housebound. Yad Sarah has just introduced an on-call communication service that every Israeli can sign up to. When contacted, Yad Sarah’s volunteers see the caller’s health details and can provide advice, deal with emergencies or just engage in a comforting chat. Innovative Israeli non-profit organisation Tmura has contributed $6.3 million to over 100 educational programs since it started ten years ago. Tmura’s revenue comes from Israeli start-ups who donate a few share options. These then become very valuable if the start-ups are taken over.
Israel’s role as the world’s leading exponent of the therapy of “medical clowning” is so innovative that some thought that I had misspelled the word “cloning”. Professional medical clowns have had major success in alleviating trauma in children and in reducing post-operative recovery times. Haifa University has just hosted the first Advanced Medical ClowningInternational Summer Seminar.
Finally, here is a typical example of how Israel brings its ethical principles and therapies to “others” across the world. Daniella Hadassi, a drama therapist who treats children at Israel’s Schneider Children's hospital, brought her puppet dog Chico to the area of the tsunami disaster in Japan and provided therapy to children who were injured a year ago. The puppet or doll is silly and funny, and counteracts pain in the same manner as the “medical clowns”. The hospital gave a puppet to each child and soon the children were joining in and releasing the emotions that had been so suppressed by the tragedy.
Israel – there’s no “other” place like it.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.