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Ignored by UK press - Israel's $1.5 million Haitian school

November 24, 2016 22:54

Sadly, whether or not Mossad was responsible for the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and Baroness Tonge's idiotic and - intentionally or not - anti-semitic comment that Israel needs to conduct an investigation into the utterly repugnant allegations that IDF rescue teams in Haiti harvested organs from victims seem to be all the Israel-related (Israelated?) news that the British news agencies can handle in one week, as they've either chosen to completely ignore or have missed one story that paints the Jewish homeland in a far more positive light: Israel's plans to build a permanent school for 1,000 children, a community centre, a medical clinic and a rehabilitation centre in Haiti for the benefit of survivors of the devastating earthquake that killed almost a quarter of a million people last month. The school alone will cost an estimated $1.5 million dollars, as reported by the Jerusalem Post - a large sum for Israel, which is itself not a very wealthy nation; but as MASHAV boss Haim Divon points out, "it's the obligation of the international community, and us - ourselves as Jews and Israelis - to do whatever we can."

Judaism has always ben big on tzedakah and chesed, of course, and many Jews carry out regular charitable acts as a matter of course - though not all Israelis are observant Jews (just as not all Jews are Israelis, despite what certain newspapers and people seem to believe), this tendency has quite literally been bred into us over the generations and cannot fail to be reflected in Israel's foreign policies. Gaza and the West Bank might reap the benefits of tzedakah too, if the day comes when the vast majority of non-violent Palestinians that want only to get on with their lives find themselves in a position to either bring an end to the rocket attacks or persuade those that claim to speak on their behalf to lay down their arms - hopefully, the day will come when we hear Palestinians and Israelis express their relief that the fighting is finally over, just as we now hear those on both sides of the Eire-Ulster border.

Other Israeli non-governmental organisations remain hard at work in Haiti too. One example is the Natan Israeli Coalition for International Humanitarian Aid which recruited Haitian teachers from displaced persons camps and set up a temporary school for 800 children. Were the Haitian authorities at all concerned that there was any truth in the organ harvesting allegations, which are nothing more than a modern retelling of the blood libel myth, then it would in all probability have asked Israel to halt its efforts by now - but the aid remains welcome, and Israel continues to offer help disproportionate to its own size and wealth.

So why is MASHAV's school not being reported in the UK media? There's been no mention on the BBC TV news, so far as I have seen, and a search of the BBC's website turns up nothing either. Nothing on The Guardian's website either, nor The Times (at which point I stopped looking). Surely it's not because they don't want to print any more than they have to that shows Israel in a good light (a common accusation)? That sounds a little too like a conspiracy theory to me - even if anti-semitism/anti-Israeli feelings run as rampant at the BBC and Guardian as some people claim, no serious news agency would run the risk of being labelled anti-semitic due to anti-semitism thankfully being considered repugnant and unacceptable by the vast majority of people in this day and age. A more plausible - yet, ultimately, no less sinister - reason is also a simpler one: the Haitian earthquake happened over a month ago now and has become old news. The agencies worry that their viewers and readers are so fickle that they'll have bored of the subject and, horror of horrors, might change the channel or choose a different title if not provided with novelty. Tiger Woods breaks his silence and speaks to fans? Now that's news!

Haiti is doubtless glad that Israel has a longer attention span and continues to help - putting paid to all those accusations that it offered aid only in order to burnish its own image now that the headlines have shifted focus. Danny Biran, of the Israeli Foreign Ministry who has been working at the field hospital set up in Haiti by the IDF, says that Haiti will continue to need help for as long as ten years. "The point is, what are you going [to do] now?" he adds. "That's what Israel thought, that it would be good to open a school and a framework." Israel was the first country to offer real aid, and it may well be the last to remain helping the people of Haiti long after the rest of the world has lost interest.

November 24, 2016 22:54

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