By: Aryeh Pekker
Israel may be one of the few, if not the only, nation in modern times to have been threatened with political and even physical destruction. It is a nation that has been accused of committing horrific acts against civilians. It is a nation whose very legitimacy is being condemned by some of the most viscous and monstrous regimes on this planet. As you read this, the UN Human Rights Council is considering six separate resolutions condemning Israel for one reason or another in one session. A new record for the Council. Of course, “considering” or “debating” a resolution on Israel is, when it comes to the UN, just another way of saying that they have already made up their minds and will condemn Israel, but that even they cannot bear the embarrassment of being so openly biased. Given these depressing facts, it seems a good time to reflect on the positive contributions that Israel has made to this world, the ones that the UN and the regimes that pull its strings will not “consider” when “debating” something on Israel.
The following is an exceedingly short list of things that Israel has done for people all over the world.
1959- Israel began setting up eye care clinics all over the world, providing free care to some of the most downtrodden nations including; Nepal, Liberia, Micronesia, Mauritania, and Tonga.
1979- Cambodia- An Israeli team was sent to treat refugees of the Khmer Rouge Genocide on the Thailand border, where they stayed for a month and a half.
1984- Sudan- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) airlifted around 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in Operation Moses.
1985- Sudan- The IDF and CIA airlifted an additional 800 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel in Operation Joshua.
1988- Armenia- After a devastating earthquake an Israeli medical team was sent to set up a field hospital that treated up to 2,500 people.
1991- Ethiopia- Within 36 hours, the IDF airlifted approximately 14, 325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel due to increasing threats to the Jewish population of Ethiopia.
1994- Rwanda- During the horrible Rwanda Genocide Israel sent emergency medical aid to the Rwandan refugees, including a field hospital sent by airlift to Zaire (present day Democratic Republic of Congo).
1995- The Israel-based Save a Child's Heart organization, co-sponsored by The Israeli Ministry for Regional Cooperation, sent doctors all around the world providing free heart surgery to children. So far, 2300 children have received free heart surgery, half of them living in the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Iraq.
1999, April- Albania- To aid refugees from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Israel set up a field hospital which included; 100 beds, 1 pharmacy, 1 laboratory, 1 operating room and 60 medical personnel including specialist doctors of; internal medicine, gynecology, infectious diseases, and orthopedics, along with nurses, paramedics, and radiologists. In addition to this, Israeli non-profits helped gather an additional 141 tons of aid that included tents, blankets, food and water.
1999, August- Turkey- After an earthquake Israel set up; 1 field hospital, 1 operating room, 1 x-ray room, 2 clinics. A 250 member Search and Rescue team was sent along with 50 tons of aid and medical supplies.
2001, January- El Salvador- After an earthquake the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a medical team to aid victims of the disaster. In addition to government aid, the Israel-based organization, Latet, collected 22 tons of clothing, blankets and other aid for victims.
2001, December- India- After an earthquake Israel sent 65 tons of aid and medical supplies. A 150 member team of specialist physicians, nurse, paramedics, rescue crews, and construction workers was dispatched. A field hospital with 100 beds, a pharmacy and operating room was set up.
2003- Iran- Despite not being officially recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel offered aid after an earthquake had hit the country, however, it was rejected.
2003- Israel was the first country to issue a Kimberley Process certificate in an effort to stem the flow of conflict (blood) diamonds. In 2010, Israel became Chair of the Kimberley Process.
2005- United States of America- In coordination with the US government, Israel sent; 80 tons of food, disposable diapers, beds, blankets, generators and additional equipment.
2006- Kenya- After a building collapsed, Israel sent an 80 strong IDF Search and Rescue team to help save and recover victims of the collapse.
2009- Philippines- After two typhoons, Israel sent a medical relief team, treating up to 300 people a day.
2010- Haiti- After a 7.0 earthquake that devastated the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Israel was the first nation to arrive providing aid. 220 Israeli soldiers and medical staff was sent to Port-au- Prince. Within 16 hours of landing, the IDF had set up a field hospital run by 40 doctors, 40 nurses and paramedics. Within the first 7 days of the operation the hospital had treated over 300 patients and is estimated to have saved thousands of lives by the end of the operation.
PRESENT DAY-2011- Japan- After an earthquake caused a horrible tsunami to rip through Japanese villages and towns, Israel is again the first nation to set up a field hospital to treat patients. A team of 50 doctors, 62 tons of medial supplies and 18 tons of humanitarian aid has been sent to Japan. The aid includes; mattresses, blankets, coats, gloves and chemical toilets.
This list is far from complete. I have compiled what I could through my limited research abilities to show what Israel has accomplished in the past and presently, however I cannot list what the future will hold, but I am sure this list will get much longer, and that is not being optimistic, it is just being realistic.