Comment: A member of the family of nations

International help received during Israel's time of need was indeed an example of the spirit of the global community in practice.

Bulgarian firefighters 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Bulgarian firefighters 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Is there a silver lining in the national disaster that’s taking place in the North?
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 eye-opener.
View up-to-date map: Fires in the Carmel
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 differences.
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.
Those suspicious 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.