At more or less the same time that members of the BDS were monitoring the brave young men and women who steadfastly protect Israel’s citizens, I too was on a monitoring mission to uncover Israeli’s profound impact on the world. After buying a journal from the local supermarket, I set out to list all the good things that Israel does and has done for people everywhere.
I had come across in South Africa a remarkable, unheralded example of cooperation across international boundaries. Ronen Moralli, director of Israel’s Tennis Centres, was in South Africa working under the political radar, coaching youngsters in Soweto on the finer points of tennis and sportsmanship, and achieving remarkable success in an area where tennis was not the game of choice. This video clip illustrates the close connection that Moralli shares with aspiring tennis players in South Africa’s townships.
Another highlight in my personal investigation was centered around some of Israel’s hospitals, cities and the Ben Gurion University. At Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem I found wards filled with infants and adults from all walks of life. Sheila Mimran, a senior supervisor, described the remarkable work being carried out at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, among children through Save A Child’s Heart, one of the largest undertakings in the world providing urgently needed pediatric heart surgery for indigent children from developing countries. Sheila explained that thousands of children are alive today because of this programme. All children, regardless of race, religion, sex, colour or financial status receive the best possible care that modern medicine has to offer—for free!
My visit to Ben Gurion, the university in the desert, was another eye-opener. Here I found a programme they call “Open Window.” It supports work done among the Bedouin and provides training mainly in the optimum use of camels, not only as beasts of burden and also as a sustainable source of food. Camel milk is really very palatable. The Bedouin also benefit from education and training in desert agriculture and fish farming that enables these nomadic tribesmen to work, eat and take care of themselves and their families.
In 2004 Israel sent 150 army doctors and search and rescue teams to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, along with an 82 ton planeload of relief supplies, including blankets, food, water, baby food and over nine tons of medicine.
In 2007 IsraAID sent six doctors and nurses to Peru to assist in rescue efforts and provide medical care after a major earthquake.
That same year Israeli volunteers went to a refugee camp on the Kenyan border to provide relief for Muslim refugees in Somalia.
In 2008 B’nai B’rith provided thousands of meals to an estimated 35,000 Georgian war refugees. Also, Israeli aid teams went to Myanmar to help with recovery after a major cyclone.
In 2009 IsraAID sent six volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics to the Philippines to assist Operation Blessing International after two devastating typhoons.
In 2010 — In response to the earthquake in Haiti, IsraAID, sent a 15-person search-and-rescue team, where they set up treatment rooms for the injured at the collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince, as well as outside the city in a makeshift clinic in a football stadium, and helped coordinate relief supply logistics.
I discovered that Israel is often called upon to dispatch aid in the wake of earthquakes, floods, famine and other natural disasters up to this very day. Among countries that have benefitted are The Horn of Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Thailand, Tonga, Japan, Nepal, Uzbekistan, and Syria.
Then there are technological initiatives that have eased the lives of millions throughout the world in the fields of science, medicine, food production, recreation, communication, animal husbandry, security and more.