IDF Aid Delegation Returns from the Philippines
IDF Aid Missions Save Thousands Around the World
20 years of saving lives abroad
September 6, 2014
Israeli company says it can produce experimental Ebola drug
With ZMapp vaccine depleted, a Carmiel-based biopharmaceutical firm says it can
extract medication from tobacco plants quickly and effectively
Times of Israel Staff
Protalix, an Israeli biopharmaceutical company located outside of the northern city of Carmiel, said Saturday that it has the resources to produce the experimental Ebola vaccine, ZMapp, which has recently run out.
In an interview with Channel 2, Protalix’s Dr. Yossi Shaaltiel, the executive vice president of research and development said: “Today our production capacity exceeds our needs, and we would certainly be happy to have the company producing the Ebola drug have us produce the drug for them. We would know how to do it effectively, in large quantities, and in a relatively short period of time.”
Shaaltiel said the company is more proficient in the genetic engineering of tobacco plants — from which the ZMapp medication is drawn — than any other plant. The TV report maintained that the facilities in northern Israel were more advanced, and better equipped than the greenhouses in the US where production of the ZMapp drug takes place.
When the company started out, Shaaltiel said, “We were considered crazy.”
“Now we are proving that we are the only ones working with the [kind of] plants that [are developed into] pharmaceutical drugs which are approved,” he said.
Of the seven people infected with the Ebola virus known to have been treated with ZMapp, two have died — a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest. The priest received only one of three planned doses. Two Americans recovered, as have two Africans who received ZMapp in Liberia — a Congolese doctor and a Liberian physician’s assistant who were expected to be released from a treatment center on Saturday. A British nurse also received the drug, reportedly the two unused doses left over from treating the Spanish priest.
Doctors have said there is no way to know whether ZMapp made a difference or if the survivors recovered on their own, as about 45 percent of people infected in this outbreak have.
ZMapp’s maker, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, California, has said the small supply of the drug is now exhausted and that it will take several months to make more. The drug is grown in tobacco plants and was developed with US government support.
An official said it takes about a month to make 20 to 40 doses at a Kentucky plant where the drug is being produced. Officials have said they are looking at other facilities and other ways to ramp up production, and Kobinger said there were plans for a clinical trial to test ZMapp in people early next year.
Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people this year and the World Health Organization says there could be as many as 20,000 cases before the outbreak is brought under control. On Friday, it spread to a fifth African country — Senegal, where a university student who traveled there from Guinea was being treated.
There is no approved vaccine or specific treatment, just supportive care to keep those who contracted the disease hydrated and nourished. Efforts have focused on finding cases and tracking their contacts to limit the disease, which spreads through contact with blood and other fluids.
Netanyahu visits IDF field hospital for Syrians
February 18, 2014
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday visited a Golan Heights field hospital that treats Syria’s wounded, as part of his campaign to unveil “the true face of Iran.”
“On the day that the world powers are opening talks in Vienna with Iran, it is important for the world to see pictures from this place,” he said.
“This place separates the good in the world from the evil in the world.”
The good, the prime minister said, is Israel, which “saves lives from the daily slaughter taking place in Syria. This is the true face of Israel.”
The evil, he continued, is Iran, which is arming those carrying out the slaughter.
“All the children wounded, to say nothing of those killed, were harmed as a result of Iran arming, financing and training the Assad regime in the mass slaughter it is perpetrating,” he said.
“From here,” Netanyahu continued, “I want to say to the world, as the talks between the major powers and Iran are being resumed, that Iran has not changed its aggressive policies. Iran has not changed its brutal character; Iran continues to support the Assad regime, which is slaughtering its citizens. This is the true face of Iran, and the world must not forget that.”
Netanyahu has spoken repeatedly in recent days of the need to remind the world of Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war, its support of terrorist groups around the world, and its violation of the human rights of its own people, including the wholesale execution of civilians.
One government official said the point Netanyahu was trying to hammer home was that the Assad regime was not an independent actor, and would not have survived as long as it had without Iranian support. The link between the situation in Syria and the restart of the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program in Vienna, he added, was that the world must realize it was dealing with a mendacious regime that would stop at nothing to fulfill its goals.
Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
At a lookout point overlooking the Syrian border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan briefed Netanyahu on the presence of global jihad elements inside Syria, as well as on the work being done to fortify the Israeli-Syrian border fence.
Despite Decades of Enmity, Israel Quietly Aids Syrian Civilians
January 29, 2014
NAHARIYA, Israel — Two brothers, ages 10 and 8, were playing marbles outside their home in a town in Syria when a rocket decapitated the older one and critically wounded his sibling. Having rushed the surviving child to a local hospital, the mother recalled, medics told her: “If you want to save your son, you should take him to Israel.”
A few days later, the boy and his mother, 34, arrived at Western Galilee Hospital here in Nahariya, on the Mediterranean coast. The traumatized boy told the staff how he had seen his brother’s head fly.
His mother broke down as she showed a visitor how he had hoarded the hospital’s packaged chocolate puddings in a bedside drawer, hoping to give them to a brother and sister still in Syria. She said she was convinced that the son who died had shielded his younger brother from the rocket explosion. “We buried him without a head,” she said.
As opposing Syrian delegations convened face to face this week in Switzerland, the tragedies of the Syrian civil war were reverberating here, the emotions sharpened by the decades of enmity between Israel and Syria, still technically in a state of war.
After nearly three years of internal conflict that has killed an estimated 130,000 and displaced millions, some Syrians say they now fear President Bashar al-Assad’s forces more than the Israeli soldiers at the frontier, who transfer wounded patients and their relatives to the hospital via military ambulance.
Israel guards their identities to avoid exposing them to additional danger when they return home. “Assad calls those who come here collaborators with Israel,” said a Syrian accompanying his critically wounded 5-year-old granddaughter, who arrived last month.
Nearly 200 Syrians, about a third of them women and children, have been treated at this hospital since March 2013. More than 230 have been taken to Rebecca Sieff Hospital in the Galilee town of Safed. A third of the cost is covered by Israel’s Ministry of Defense, a third by the Ministry of Health and the rest by the hospitals. Dr. Masad Barhoum, the director general of the hospital in Nahariya, said that so far the treatment his hospital had provided had cost it about $2.6 million.
Israel made it clear that it would not tolerate refugees amassing along the decades-old Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line. But Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, said this week that Israel “cannot remain indifferent” and had been providing food and winter clothing to Syrian villages across the border fence as well as tending to some of the wounded.
A small, low-profile humanitarian effort, it is politically risky for patients and their relatives. Some said they had been afraid to come here and now fear going back.
For some, the journey begins with help from the Free Syrian Army, a Western-aligned loose coalition of rebels who are fighting Mr. Assad’s government, and from international coordinating bodies in the area. Spirited across the frontier into the Israeli-held Golan Heights, the patients and their relatives pass into the hands of the Israeli military.
The 5-year-old’s grandfather, a farmer, said life in wartime was like “living in a whirlpool.” When the rebellion against Mr. Assad first started, he said, “It was us against Bashar, and we had a chance of winning.” Now, he said, “the whole world is involved,” but he asked why America was not coming to the rescue.
About five weeks ago, he recalled, he had been working his land when he learned that his grandchildren had been hurt in a rocket attack. He had heard about the Israeli medical care and, ignoring the political risks, worked to bring his granddaughter here.
“When there is peace, I will raise an Israeli flag on the roof of my house,” he said.
The war has eroded once-impervious psychological barriers on both sides. This month, an Israeli aid drive led by volunteers from the Working and Studying Youth movement, Israeli Flying Aid and other local organizations collected about 20,000 items — mainly jackets, blankets and sleeping bags — to be transferred to Syrian refugees. Donors were asked to remove all Israeli labels. Barak Sella of Working and Studying Youth said there were plans to establish a website for dialogue between Israeli and Syrian youths.
A wounded mother of six, who had been at the hospital in Nahariya with two wounded daughters for nearly six weeks, said, “I grew up hearing that Israel was an enemy country and that if you met an Israeli he would kill you.”
The mother, 31, said she had been on the roof of her home with her children and a nephew as snow began when a rocket struck. She said she did not remember what happened afterward. When she awoke in the hospital, she said, “I was very, very afraid, but I tried not to show that to the staff.”
Her left leg was amputated below the knee. One daughter, 6, was recovering from shrapnel injuries. The other, 3, had lost an eye and suffered damaged lungs and a mangled arm.
A son, 5, and the nephew, 12, were in the hospital in Safed, accompanied by their grandmother. The younger boy lost one leg; the nephew, both.
Having barely taken her first steps with a day-old prosthesis, the mother was about to return to Syria with her two daughters and a large suitcase packed with donated clothes and toys. They were to be picked up by an army ambulance in the afternoon to begin the six-hour journey to the border and home.
She expressed fear over what might await her. She did not know if the children she had left behind in Syria had survived the rocket attack.
Asked to draw a house in a hospital classroom, the 6-year-old girl drew rubble. Most of the mother’s neighbors and many relatives had already left for refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Once back, she said, she would confide only to those closest to her where she had been.
First baby born in IDF field hospital in Philippines named ‘Israel’
Humanitarian mission to typhoon-struck country, which departed
Wednesday with over 100 tons of supplies, begins treating casualties
Times of Israel staff
November 15, 2013
The first baby boy delivered by members of the IDF mission in the field hospital set up in the typhoon-struck Philippines will be named “Israel,” the army tweeted Friday morning.
“It’s a boy!” wrote IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner on Friday, “amazing news coming out of the IDF field hospital. First baby delivered. The thankful mum named him Israel.”
The IDF humanitarian mission completed the set-up of the hospital earlier Friday, after departing for the storm-ravaged city of Daanbantayan, in the northern province of Cebu, late Wednesday with about 100 tons of supplies. Casualties were already being brought in for treatment, according to reports.
The 147-member group, comprising national search-and-rescue unit officials and senior doctors in the IDF medical corps, was tasked with rapidly setting up a “multi-department medical facility” to provide medical care for casualties of the disaster.
The facility has children’s, women’s and ambulatory care departments, as well as a general admission department, and is “equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon spoke with the Philippines’ Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin Friday to express his condolences for the lives lost in the storm.
“The Israeli people feel the pain of the Filipino people and stands by you at this difficult hour,” Ya’alon said, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry. “I am hopeful that the IDF mission to the Philippines will do as much as it can to save lives.”
The death toll from the typhoon, which made landfall in the central Philippines last Friday, could be at least 10,000, according to reports, though the official death toll currently stands at more than 4,000.
The United Nations says the storm affected 11 million people in all, more than 670,000 of whom lost their homes. The enormity of the task of helping them all has pressed the resources of the Philippines hard.
IDF Humanitarian Delegation to the Philippines to Leave Tomorrow
Israel Defense Forces
A 148 member delegation is set to leave for the Philippines tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, in order to provide search, rescue, and medical services in the Typhoon-struck city of Tacloban, capital of the Leyte Province.
An advanced multi-department medical facility, equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel, will be rapidly established in the city of Tacloban to provide medical care for disaster casualties. The facility will be constructed of a children’s department, a women’s department, an ambulatory care department, and a general admission department, operated by IDF doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, mental health professionals, x-ray technician, and lab workers.
The delegation comprises of officials in the National Search and Rescue Unit of the Home Front Command headed by the unit commander, Colonel Ramtin Sabti, as well as senior doctors in the IDF Medical Corps, headed by the Vice Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps, Colonel Doctor Dudu Dagan.
Yesterday, Monday, November 11, 2013, a lead expedition of five search, rescue, and medical experts arrived in Tacloban and formed a situation assessment determining the urgency for a rapid IDF response. Based on this assessment the of the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, order to deploy a large-scale delegation to the disaster zone.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: “The Home Front Command has soldiers and officers who excel in the fields of search and rescue and highly professional medical doctors experienced in such complex missions. Over the years they have been to Japan, Haiti, Ghana, Bulgaria, and Turkey, where they diligently donated from their resources and knowledge to those in need.”
The IDF National Search and Rescue Unit, founded in 1983, is a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions, both in Israel and abroad. The unit consists primarily of reservists who are always on call, with prepared kits to enable immediate departure, and a small core of soldiers in mandatory service. In addition to the rescue teams, the unit employs doctors, engineers, mechanical engineering equipment operators and rescue dog handlers.
Past IDF operations in calamity-struck regions include the delegation to Haiti in January 2010 which included a search and rescue team, a maternity ward, intensive care units, pediatrics, surgeons, and pharmaceutical supplies. In April 2011, an IDF delegation traveled to Japan following a devastating earthquake treating 220 casualties. In January of 2006, 80 soldiers and officers flew to Nairobi, Kenya, following a building collapse, rescuing two people trapped under ruins and recovering seven lost bodies. Additional missions took place in Turkey in 1999 following where IDF rescued 12 survivors and recovered 140 bodies, as well as in Kenya in 1998 where soldiers rescued three people and recovered 95 bodies.
Representatives of the Israeli military landed in the Philippines to evaluate the situation on the ground and determine how Israel can best assist in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The team, including search and rescue experts, doctors and representatives of the Home Front Command, arrived Monday. A representative of the Foreign Ministry arrived with the team, according to Ynet.
The Israel Defense Forces plans to send additional doctors and other officers once it receives the go-ahead from the government.
The Israeli team plans to set up a field hospital to treat wounded survivors of the typhoon.
The Jewish Federations of North America, Union for Reform Judaism and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee are collecting donations to help the survivors.
The death toll in the typhoon, which made landfall in the central Philippines on Friday, could be at least 10,000, according to reports, though the official death toll currently stands at more than 1,700. At least half a million people also have been left homeless by the devastating typhoon.
An emergency response team sent to the Philippines by the Israeli disaster relief organization IsraAid to the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haivan also arrived Monday and will be working primarily in Tacloban City in Leyte, one of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. A larger team is expected to land by the end of the week, according to IsraAid.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Israel, I extend heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the horrific typhoon, and I send best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a letter to Philippines President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. “I hope Israel’s assistance will help alleviate the suffering of those affected by this disaster.”
Quietly Saving Lives: Israel Treating Wounded Syrians
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
August 28, 2013
The extreme humanitarian crisis in Syria is only getting worse. As death tolls continue to rise during the brutal civil war, 1.9 million refugees (including 1 million children) are fleeing their decimated country. In statements made this week by Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States confirmed undeniable evidence that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons to kill more than 1,300 Syrian men, women and children.
In line with some of the strongest statements by U.S. and U.N. officials regarding what Secretary Kerry called “a moral obscenity,” the Obama Administration and other Western countries are now mulling a response to Assad’s lethal attack. Syrian and Iranian leaders, on the other hand, have declared that they will hold Israel accountable for any military action taken by any country. “We have strategic weapons and we can retaliate,” said one Assad supporter. “Essentially, the strategic weapons are aimed at Israel.”
Similarly, a senior member of Iran’s parliament said that “the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”
Yet, despite these incitements, several incidents of firing at Israelis from across the Syrian border and a civil war that has spiraled into chaos, Israel is quietly coming to the aid of the injured—escorting hundreds of Syrians across dangerous terrain for lifesaving treatments in Israel.
Most of the Syrian patients clandestinely brought into Israeli hospitals are men between the ages of twenty and thirty, who arrive wounded and unconscious. At Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, on the Mediterranean coast near the Lebanese border, doctors say these injured victims wake up after several days not knowing where they are. When they learn they are in an Israeli hospital they are shocked. Children have been transported to these hospitals in large numbers recently, many with critical wounds from shrapnel or explosions. Some as young as three years old have received world-class medical care before returning with their parents to Syria.
At the Western Galilee Hospital, Israeli treatment is the only hope for many of these children to survive their injuries. One 3-year-old girl cried for her mother as an unfamiliar nurse comforted her in her hospital room, her face blackened by what doctors deemed was likely an explosion from a firebomb. Another girl, 13, has been recovering for more than a month from injuries requiring complex surgery to her face, arm and leg. She and her brother had gone to their village supermarket when a shell struck, killing her 9-year-old sibling.
It is unclear exactly how the injured Syrians are transported into Israel or how they cross back into Syria after treatment, other than the fact that Israeli military personnel are coordinating the operations. Both doctors and patients are careful not to reveal the identities of patients and their families to the press, to protect their identities upon returning to Syria.
Defying Policy in the Name of Humanity
Israel’s northern neighbor has been a sworn enemy of Israel for decades. Syrian youth are taught anti-Israel propaganda at a young age. Yet for Israelis, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asserts, the treatment of wounded Syrians is done “on a humanitarian basis.” Dr. Masad Barhoum, an Arab Christian citizen of Israel and the director general of the Western Galilee Hospital, says he is proud of the expert treatment his staff has provided and equally proud to be a citizen of a country that allows him to treat every injured individual with equal care and attention.
Though Israel maintains a policy of non-interference in Syria, voluntary aid groups have been able to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey by providing them humanitarian aid. According to Knesset Member Ayoub Kara, Israel’s medical treatment of injured Syrians is simply an expression of human values. “It is important for us that when there are big problems in our neighbor states, we are helping.”
Helping Beyond its Borders: Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Syrian Refugees in Jordan
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
October 23, 2013
This past August, Near East Report published an account of Israel’s military bringing injured Syrians across its border for medical treatment.
Despite decades of hostility from its northern neighbor, Israel has responded to Syria’s tumultuous humanitarian crisis by quietly opening its world-class hospitals to those marred by the violence.
As the situation worsens and the death toll rises, the task of providing aid to Syria’s victims has become increasingly difficult. Syria’s refugee crisis continues to intensify, with more than 2.1 million Syrian refugees flooding transient camps throughout the region—the majority of whom depending entirely on aid for survival. Yet, while the Israel Defense Forces work to bring afflicted Syrians into its emergency rooms, Israel’s humanitarian agencies are engaging in comprehensive relief efforts for refugees beyond state lines.
In Jordan, where 500,000 refugees have poured in from the north and an estimated 3,000 Syrians are entering the country daily, an Israeli organization is quietly distributing vital aid to refugees in need.
For over a decade, IsraAID has worked to help people all over the world overcome crises by providing vital support and assistance. According to its mission statement, the Israeli humanitarian agency operates to bring millions “from destruction to reconstruction, and eventually, to sustainable living.” As hundreds of thousands of Syrians flood across the Jordanian border, IsraAID is extending its hand. In Jordan’s northern region, tens of thousands of Syrians have sought refuge in what are now overcrowded, disease-filled and crime-ridden camps.
Outside the refugee camps, Syrians stand in line waiting to be greeted by truckloads of purple bags, delivered by Jordanian NGOs that have partnered with Israeli agencies. Each bag is filled with lentils, rice, sugar and other dry foods—a small but critical byproduct of charitable donations from Jewish groups around the world.
Earlier this month, The Times of Israel interviewed a number of volunteers taking part in the relief efforts.
“We are concerned for their livelihood,” said the director of an international humanitarian organization partnering with IsraAID. But just as those involved in Israel’s aid missions face the challenges one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades, they must likewise be constantly vigilant of the political tensions between Israel and Syria that complicate their efforts.
“You see a lot of Americans doing humanitarian work all over the world,” says Mickey Alon, a volunteer with IsraAID. “It’s a bit more complicated for Israelis to do it.”
Several Jordanian NGOs, for instance, are forced to remain silent about their involvement with Israeli aid organizations. They fear the Syrian government’s retributions upon refugees’ family members who remain in Syria. In many cases, individuals have faced gruesome punishment once their relatives’ support from Israel is discovered. Yet for IsraAID and its volunteers, people are suffering. This is enough of a reason to continue the work, despite the obstacles in play.
“For us, this has nothing to do with politics at home…We come because we are people who want to do humanitarian work,” says Alon. For the many volunteers at IsraAID, distributing vital assistance to the men, women and children escaping Syria’s bloodshed is simply a necessity.
Humanitarian aid organizations within the United States work with countries and communities in need throughout the world with relatively little hindering their global reach. Israel, however, faces challenges unlike most countries in the world. Amid the constant threat of regional neighbors seeking its destruction, and despite the challenges presented along each of its borders, the Jewish state remains steadfast in its commitment to human values, bettering the world and preserving life. The tireless work of IsraAID across its eastern border is proof of this reality, ensuring that even the citizens of nations whose governments oppose Israel’s existence are entitled to the very freedoms Israel promotes.
These values embody the key partnership between the United States and Israel. The strength and security of the Jewish state allows its citizens to serve as beacons of democracy in a region where dictators can deprive their citizens of the most basic, inalienable rights.
IDF provides emergency medical care to Gaza infant
The transfer was arranged by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Authority (CLA) – the IDF unit responsible for coordinating all civilian operations vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip.
“I received a call from the representative of the Palestinian Health Department requesting a transfer and medical assistance,” said Maj. Monir Nabawani, the CLA officer who supervised the transfer through the Erez crossing.
The tiny patient was placed inside a mobile incubator and connected to an artificial breathing apparatus inside an ambulance that transported him and an accompanying family member to the hospital in Israel.
Maj. Nabawani explained that providing medical assistance to Palestinian patients is a daily routine. “Every day we help five to eight patients access free medical services in Israel,” a fact, he pointed out, that is not often publicized in the international media outlets’ coverage of the region.
The infant’s condition was sufficiently life threatening to demand a transfer through the Erez crossing despite the danger posed by rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
“We have had a few difficult days dealing with repeated aggression from Gaza, but that did not influence our judgment in offering medical care to those Palestinians in need,” Maj. Nabawani noted. “Ultimately we are dealing with human beings, and we don’t differentiate between Israeli citizens and Palestinians when they are in need,” he said.
Doctors have cared for the infant who is now in stable condition at Sheba Medical Center where he remains for further treatment.
As the rocket fire from Gaza continued today, Maj. Nabwani expressed hope that each patient treated would bring a change in the attitude of Palestinians across the border, and perhaps also, peace a little closer. “Maybe the patients receiving medical assistance will perceive Israel without the falsely manipulated image they are taught by the authority in Gaza,” he said. “It’s a small hope, but we will continue to help regardless. It’s what we are fundamentally taught to do as Israeli citizens, and as soldiers in the IDF,” he added.
Boston Hospital Trained by Israel to Respond to Terror
United With Israel
A doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, where most of the victims of the Boston Marathon Terror attack received medical treatment, claimed that an Israeli team helped train them to respond to these kinds of terror attacks. During the Boston Marathon this year, two explosions took place which resulted in the murder of three people and the injury of at least 183 others. One of the victims was a Chinese national who studied at Boston University, while other victims included a 29-year-old restaurant manager and an eight-year-old child. An additional 13 people suffered from severe limb loss.
Were it not for Israeli training, the medical team at Massachusetts General Hospital might have been less prepared to deal with this situation. According to Alasdair Conn, Chief of Emergency Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, “About two years ago in actual fact we asked the Israelis to come across and they helped us set up our disaster team so that we could respond in this kind of manner. A few years ago we wanted to upgrade our emergency response to things like explosions, and unfortunately Israel was dealing with several types of [these incidents] a year… and we had to upgrade our response.”
Dr. Conn compared the scene of the Boston Marathon Terror attack to what one would witness in Israel during the Second Intifada period or in Baghdad. The situation in Boston was that atrocious. Rabbi Mayer Sarchi from Boston Chabad, who was at the scene of the crime, proclaimed, “People just started running away from the centre, from the finish line. I’ve never seen any thing like this before—-the nature of the carnage you can’t really articulate it in words. It was unreal.”
The American Jewish leadership, like the rest of the American population, was in a state of disbelief. As Avraham Foxman of the Anti-Defemation League proclaimed, “Like all Americans, we were deeply shocked by the apparent bombing of the Boston Marathon. It is sad that any time a bomb explodes in public places, we are conditioned as a first to reflex to think of it as a terrorist attack, but unfortunately, in this instance it appears that our fears have been realized.”
The State of Israel, in addition to training the emergency teams within Boston that deal with this terror attack, also condemned it with the harshest words imaginable. For Israelis, what happened in Boston is reminiscent of the suffering that Israelis endured during the Second Intifada. As Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu declared, “A day of enjoyment in Boston turned into a day of terror. We send our condolences to President [Barack] Obama, the American people and the bereaved families. On this day and on any day, Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with the American people. We are partners in freedom and in seeking a better future for all humanity.”
This is a short blurb from AIPAC’S website including some terrific videos:
Israel has shared its expertise to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. From the natural disasters that struck Japan and Haiti, to drought stricken nations in Africa, Israel has sent experts abroad to help countries in need.
Equipped with firsthand knowledge of the challenges that resource-poor countries face, Israel has strived to provide other countries with the assistance they need to develop and grow. Before it had even established embassies in many world capitals, Israel sent experts abroad to teach developing nations such skills as how to upgrade medical facilities, improve schools and coax crops from arid land. Today, Israel has one of the most extensive foreign assistance programs in the world for a nation of its size.
Israelis are all too familiar with the reality of genocide. In both the Rwandan and Sudanese genocides, Israel provided humanitarian assistance to the refugees. In Rwanda, Israel established a field hospital and sent several doctors and nurses as wells as medical supplies and vaccinations. Israel has also dispersed $5 million to aid Sudanese refugees.
In more than two dozen recent cases, Israel has contributed to relief efforts after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. For example, Israel sent medicine, water, food and other supplies to Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2004. The next year, Israel also sent humanitarian aid and equipment to New Orleans for victims of Hurricane Katrina. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Israel sent a comprehensive hospital team that set the standard for treating victims of a natural disaster in a speedy and humane manner.
Since 1959, Israel has maintained numerous medical outreach programs, including eye clinics in developing countries. Israel’s eye clinics have operated for decades in Nepal, Mauritania, Tonga, Liberia and Micronesia.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
January 28, 2010
Israeli aid to Haiti, field hospital set up A rescue team was sent to the Haiti UN headquarters to assist in rescuing survivors.
Patients are being treated at the field hospital.The first Israeli delegation landed in the capital of Port-Au-Prince on Friday evening (15 January) and established its operation center in a soccer field near the airport. On Tuesday night (Jan. 19), an additional team joined the IDF forces operating in Haiti since the earthquake, consisting of GOC of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, CEO of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Eitan Hai-Am, and the Chief Medical officer, Brig. Gen. Nahman Esh. After landing, the team arrived at the IDF field hospital and was updated on the current situation regarding the treatment of victims.Israeli Ambassador Amos Radian and Maj. Gen Yair Golan, head of the IDF Home Front Command, met with the Prime Minister of Haiti and toured the demolished UN headquarters and other disaster areas in order to asses the continuation of Israeli aid.During its stay in Haiti, the medical delegation treated more than 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 births including three in Cesarian sections. The IDF Search and Rescue force has rescued or assisted in the rescue of 4 individuals.IDF medical and rescue team concludes mission in Haiti – Delegation to return to Israel on Thursday
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)The IDF medical and rescue team sent to Haiti has concluded its operations Wednesday, January 27, 2010. The delegation’s 236 members, including 218 IDF soldiers and officers and 18 civilians, will leave Haiti on board an air-plane chartered from El-Al and will land at the Ben-Gurion International Airport tomorrow at 8:30. The delegation will be welcomed in a military ceremony (opening at 9:00) at the presence of senior Israeli officials and senior IDF Commanders.On board the air plane is a five year old child from Haiti who is scheduled to go through a heart surgery in order to correct a heart deficiency.The delegation left 30 tons of medical equipment for use in the ongoing aid effort. This includes bandaging gear, surgery equipment, two incubators and other medical accessories as well as 1150 blankets, 30 large-sized tents, 500 mattresses, 200 sleeping bags and kitchen equipment. The equipment will be distributed to tent-cities in different locations in Haiti, under the coordination of the Israeli ambassador in the country.
Yesterday, the delegation held a ceremony to mark the closing of the field hospital set up in Haiti. Col. Itzik Kryce, commander of the field hospital, conveyed his great appreciation to the medical staff and said: “You were a drop of hope in a sea of desperation and sometimes made the difference between life and death. It is a great privilege, and you’ve done it as human beings, following the spirit of the IDF and in accordance with the values of the IDF Medical Corps. Col. Kryce also said: “We came here to lend a hand and provide assistance, but above all, in order to provide hope and to show that even in the worst situations, a human being can be a symbol of hope to others, wherever they may be”.
The delegation left for the disaster struck area 12 days ago, on January 15, 2010, comprised of rescue teams from the IDF Home Front Command and Medical personnel from the IDF Medical Corps. The delegation also included a logistical section, security personnel, C4I personnel, search and identification personnel and additional assistance.
“We worked until we collapsed”
By Elior LevyThe sister of Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh recently entered Israel along with her husband, who received urgent treatment at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Ynet has learned.Four months ago the husband of Suhila Abd el-Salam Ahmed Haniyeh suffered a serious cardiac episode which could not be treated at any hospital in Gaza. After the couple filed an urgent entry request with Israeli authorities, a Palestinian ambulance transported the husband to the Erez Crossing, where he was moved to a Magen David Adom vehicle and taken to the hospital in Petah Tikva along with his wife.The husband was hospitalized in Israel for about a week, during which his condition was stabilized. Following the treatment, the couple returned to Gaza.Ismail Haniyeh attacks Israel at every opportunity, and the terror group he heads does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. On Monday he led a mass prayer session outside the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza in solidarity with the victims of last week
end’s terror attack in Sinai. During the gathering, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in accusing Israel of orchestrating the attack.
“The attack’s method confirms some sort of Israeli involvement aiming to achieve political and security goals, cause tension on the border with Egypt and destroy joint efforts to end the Gaza blockade,” he said.