Israelis are used to seeing our country run to assist when natural disasters strike. Think Haiti, Turkey and Japan. We are used to our soldiers being on the front lines not waiting for others to do the work. We know our engineers, medics and doctors work to solve global problems and save lives.
Syrian fighters find themselves given the best medicine and technology Israel has to offer. Children of terrorists and sworn enemies receive life saving care here… We are so used to these things, that no one is fazed or surprised that we are doing it again. We are proud, but we expect it.
I do not have all of the figures and if I did I probably couldn’t really comprehend them, but 260 Israelis have left their homes and families to run to a disaster zone. Millions of shekels are being spent to set up the largest field hospital ever – fully equipped to save lives, bones, babies and hopes.
Why? Every other country giving assistance is content to send a few doctors, helicopters or to just throw money at it. The next largest delegation is the UK at 68 people. Why is Israel, the size of NJ, putting to much effort into this?
It is because we can and we feel that we must. An Israeli does not see a disaster, tsk and walk away. If we have technology, we use it to help. If we can set up a Gddamn state-of-the-art operating room in the middle of effing nowhere, we will.
Because we value life. We believe in life. We do everything we can to preserve life.
And those who have such hate and gross stupidity in their minds to claim that this is to distract the world from our ‘hatred’ and ‘abuse’ of the Palestinians? There is nothing – NOTHING – that the average Israeli wants more than to have peace with our nearest neighbors, to share our know how, so that both of our peoples can flourish and prosper. We are desperate to do it! But we cannot.
Because the one thing, the only thing that Israelis/Jews value more than a stranger’s life, is the lives of their families and children.
When our families are no longer under threat. When our neighbor’s greatest desire is not our demise. When their hands are extended in peace and not with tunnels and missiles and butcher knives. When they grant us the gift of recognizing our right to live, then the Israel that everyone sees saving lives of far off people will be the Israel that can finally lay down its weapons to clasp that hand in peace. It will be the Israel who has turned the most talked about conflict in the world to the greatest happy ending there ever was.
That same energy to save people after disaster will be used to build the peace here. For that is what we truly wish for. Far better than saving lives in a disaster is preventing one in the first place.
Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll is cofounder of REACH3K, a boutique branding and communications firm. She lives in Beith Shemesh with her family.