I've quietly been following the earthquake disaster in Haiti, like most people. I can't really help, and I don't necessarily have extra money to send, so I'm just pining away with guilt and sadness. All these great and big industrialized, even post-modern, nations of the world have so much to offer, so many ways they can help, but nothing seems to be getting done. It seems that no one there has enough water, or food, or shelter. No one can find proper medical care. All the nations and their armies are standing impotently in some proverbial corner, afraid to touch the Haitians.
I know some are trying, but it doesn't seem to be enough. I've taken great heart, however, from little tiny Israel's constant commitment to be the leader in humanitarianism. Whenever there is a world disaster, Israel sends its crack search and rescue squad, ZAKA, to the front lines. Backing them up, the military's emergency medical crew, and a hospital, set up camp and beg for all the toughest cases. While Germany and Japan and France, three nations that in my humble opinion shouldn't have armies, reserve their amazing wealth and wasted fortunes for a worthless armed forces, cash-strapped Israel risks all for the sake of tikkun olam - healing and helping the world and her people. I realize I'm being harsh on nations like Germany, since we have even recently cooperated with them on aid missions, but the amount they are doing relative to their ability is simply not good enough.
Just watch the following video if you really, truly think Israel is some devil; the little Satan. Do you know how much money it costs to do what they're showing in this video? Delivering babies, performing surgeries, and rescuing the trapped. But of course Israel won't really receive recognition for any of this, and not that we even care. We'll probably be accused of stealing Haitian baby blood for Passover or something anyway. Bitter? Oh, no, of course not... (If you receive the blog post from email, and the video doesn't come up, just come to the site for this amazing clip: www.israelibyday.com).
Here's another article if you want to read more about Israel's efforts.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
All through the West Bank there are cities where Jews and Arabs live in close proximity to each other. You may be familiar with these, as they tend to be controversial and in the foreign news constantly. The Jews live in these places because they tend to have religious significance. When foreign leaders talk about settler blocs, they are occasionally referencing these cities, or areas close by.
Al-Madina al-Muqaddasah is one of these cities. As you can imagine, having these two opposing sides living so close to one another causes inevitable conflicts on the micro scale. In an effort to minimize incidents, Israel in some cases designates roads and paths restricted to one side or the other. That means that there are Arab-only roads, or Jewish-only ones (and of course many shared by both). Now, Israel's detractors might call this discrimination or segregation, or even apartheid. I counter that by claiming that such restricted roads are often close-by. So, neither side has to really go too far out of their way in order to travel in their intended path.
While standing guard at our front gate, I spotted two young Arab men crossing the street. They were heading into a path that I was certain was forbidden to them, though I remembered that there had been some conflicting reports on whether that was indeed a Jewish-only path. I called them over to me in my stupid, Virginian-accented Arabic, and checked their ID's. Not feeling comfortable with giving what I thought was the right answer, instead of fully knowing, I radioed in to HQ for confirmation.
When I called in, my platoon commander answered me. I asked whether or not they could use this particular path, to which he replied negatively. Just as I thought, but when in doubt, check it out. He seemed overly happy with me, and said "very good, very good," about five times. I directed the guys to the road they needed, and settled back into my post. Not a minute later, someone that I didn't recognize at HQ, probably super bored, radioed to me.
"You're the cutest in the land, Danny."
Without hesitation, I replied, "That's what my momma says."
Ah, West Bank winter nights with nothing better than chatter on the network.