As today’s news shows, there are times when Israel has to take to the air to attack those who try to destroy it. But last week, it was a different story. Before Gaza terrorists re-ignited their crazed, murderous assault on the Jewish State, Israelis were winging their way to other parts of the world in order to bring help and benefit to those who love peace.
The world is full of ups and downs. Last month I would have laughed in disbelief if someone had predicted that the USA would soon be receiving help from Israel’s global humanitarian organization Israel Flying Aid. But hurricane Sandy was no laughing matter and the same Israeli team that was first to land in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, has been distributing large supplies of gas to hospitals, and food, batteries and generators to needy citizens of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island. Halfway across the planet from New York, an Israeli Home Front Command team and a Magen David Adom team swooped in and immediately began rescuing victims from the rubble of a collapsed four-storey shopping mall in Ghana’s capital Accra. The new mall had been due to open just days before the tragedy struck.
Two Israeli companies have provided some vital and extremely timely products to help with disaster relief. Firstly, Tamir Niv has designed a low-cost tool for digging survivors out from debris following an earthquake or other disaster. His 5-in-1 MultiTool features a shovel, hammer, crowbar, lifting hook and wire cutters. Then, the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) turned to Israel’s Waze – the Israeli app that offers real time traffic navigation updates – to help New Jersey residents suffering from fuel shortages. Waze directs users to gas stations that have fuel. Hopefully, not the one in this video clip.
‘Wings of a dove’ is the name of the Israeli government’s project to rescue the last remnants of Ethiopian Jewry. 237 of the community’s 8000 population have just been flown to Israel from appalling conditions in Gondar. Israelis will go to the ends of the earth to save lives, but they gave themselves a mountain to climb when they flew to Tanzania to raise money to fund operations performed by surgeons from Holon-based Save A Child’s Heart. SACH supporters climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and raised $200,000. Since 1995, SACH volunteer medical staff have performed life-saving heart surgery on 3000 children from 44 countries who suffer from congenital defects. Meanwhile, in the search for secondary cancer treatments, Israel has joined an international investigation into targeted treatments. Secondary cancer sufferers do not respond to surgery or radiotherapy. But analysis of the genetic mutations of their tumours can identify medication that could destroy the cancer throughout the body.
Flying between Israel and the UK became easier this month due to the start of a twice-weekly service by low-cost airline easyJet between Ben Gurion and Manchester. It has also begun twice-daily flights on Mondays and Thursdays between Tel Aviv and Luton, adding to the current daily flights between those two cities. This may encourage Israeli entrepreneurs to continue expanding their businesses into Europe. Since 2005, 88 Israeli companies have gone public in Europe – more than in the USA.
In the entertainment business, Israeli TV shows regularly cross the Atlantic to appear on American television. Last year it was Emmy award-winning Homeland. This time, the ABC TV network has bought Israeli TV show Sabri Maranan.which Americans will see as ‘Tribes’. As their mothers will tell you, Israeli children sing like birds. So for the first time since the Junior Eurovision contest was founded 10 years ago, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority is to fly its own delegation to the youth song competition, taking place in Amsterdam.
In sport, 17-year-old Naomi Cohen brought her own wings to the 2012 RS-X Youth World Windsurfing Championships in Taiwan. She won gold, whilst fellow Israelis finished in fifth, tenth, twelfth and 18th places.
Finally, top French fire fighter Frank Louie has flown the nest by immigrating to Israel. In future, he will provide his skills as a volunteer with the Eilat Fire Department. ''This is the place for Jews,'' he said.
Wishing all Israelis a safe flight, and return in peace!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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