Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti and Ethiopian Jewry Thank God for the State of Israel

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Jan. 20, 2010, by Michael Freund:

...amid the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince, three IDF rescue teams carefully searched through the ruins of the Haitian capital for survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake. Racing against the clock, these young Jews in uniform, accompanied by specially-trained canines, heroically sorted through mounds of debris and wreckage to pull the wounded to safety. could only marvel at the valor and courage of our soldiers, as they risked their lives to save those of others, in the process bringing honor to us all.

Meanwhile, the field hospital established by the IDF to treat victims of the disaster was quickly making a name for itself as the best-run and most fully-equipped operation in the area. Set up last Friday on a soccer field, the complex boasts 40 doctors and 24 nurses, as well as teams of paramedics, X-ray equipment and personnel, an emergency room, a children's ward, a maternity ward and even a pharmacy.

....Though a vast gulf separates Israel from Haiti, with more than 10,500 kilometers of ocean lying between us, the Jewish people demonstrated that their extended hand can bridge any gap and traverse any chasm when it comes to saving lives.

BUT THE residents of the Caribbean island nation were not the only beneficiaries of Israel's humanity this week. Much closer to home, we were witness to the arrival of 82 members of the Falash Mura, descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity centuries ago.

Landing at Ben-Gurion Airport early Tuesday morning, the new immigrants were greeted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.

It was a scene that should fill every Jewish heart with pride, as the remnants of Ethiopian Jewry complete the millennial-old journey back to the land of their ancestors. Hundreds more are expected to arrive over the next few months, as the government finally moves towards fulfilling its previous promises to allow the remaining members of the community to make aliya.

And so, even as our foes noisily continue to assert that Zionism is racism, Israel stands alone in embracing a black African community and welcoming it into our midst.

So it was quite a week for Jewish heroism. Over the course of a few days, the State of Israel saved lives and saved Jews.

It was, in every respect, Israel's finest hour...

...Thank God for the State of Israel. Without it, the world would be a far less noble place.
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