Bulgarian firefighters 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Is there a silver lining in the national disaster that’s taking place in the
up-to-date map: Fires in the Carmel
The willingness of our global neighbors – near like Jordan, Egypt and the
Palestinian Authority; regional like Greece, Cyprus and Turkey; and those as far
as Russia, Bulgaria, France, Italy, England and the US – to send supplies and
forces to help our country in its hour of need is a heartwarming
On the one hand, there shouldn’t be any surprise at the
offers of aid - it’s a natural reaction that should be taken for granted. Human
life is in danger, so you help, regardless of your geopolitical
On the other hand, we’ve been conditioned over the years to
be paranoid. The world is against us, and if a government utters a pro-
Palestinian statement, it means they’re either at best anti-Semitic or at worst
seeking Israel’s destruction.
An example of our national obsession with
connecting everything to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict was the unfounded
rumors that spread almost as fast as the flames that the fire was the result of
arson perpetrated by everyone from al-Qaida to Hamas.
pro-Israel advocates who see an enemy around every corner must have been shocked
that such “cold peace” friends like Egypt and Turkey have done the right thing
and mobilized for a neighbor. Even the Palestinian Authority, our closest
neighbors and those whom we are most at odds with, sent fire trucks to Taibe and
Barta’a, two Arab villages in the Galilee. It’s almost as satisfying as
recognizing Israel as the Jewish homeland.
Listening to reports of
firefighters from Bulgaria and Greece standing shoulder to shoulder with our
exhausted men, barely unable to communicate beyond a shared goal of containing
the killer blaze, was indeed an example of the spirit of the global community in
practice, not just in theory.
It’s a clear illustration – far beyond
Israel’s participation in the Olympics or in the Eurovision song contest – that,
despite the bitter divide over the future of the land we are destined to share
with the Palestinians, we are an accepted member of the family of nations. It’s
too bad it took such a monumental tragedy for that to be revealed.