“The city of Houston was hurt badly last week, and the Jewish community, 70% of which lived in the flooded neighborhoods, was hit hard…Schools and synagogues were flooded and can’t be used. The old-age home and JCC [Jewish Community Center] were damaged, and hundreds of families will remain homeless… For years the Jewish communities stood by Israel when it needed their help; now it is our turn to stand by Houston’s Jewish community.”
The Houston Jewish Community will receive a big boost from the Israeli government to help in recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
This comes after IsrAID and iAid, two of Israel’s most prominent humanitarian groups, were some of the very first on-scene to provide emergency relief, psychosocial support, and debri removal assistance.
On a much different, though somewhat similar note, I learned this week that medical teams are going into Syria, under cover of night, to treat wounded Syrian citizens in the midst of civil war. It has long been news that wounded Syrians have fled to Israel for medical care, but now Israel is making it possible for medical teams to go to them. Here is how I understand it:
The IDF (Israel Defense Forces…Israel’s military) has been working diligently and intentionally to supply food and aid to Syrian citizens, particularly near the Syrian-Israeli border in order to promote peace and friendship with the northern neighbors. Building those bridges has now enabled the IDF to escort medical teams to the border and “hand them off” to Syrian soldiers who have vowed to take them safely deeper into Syria to provide much-needed medical assistance there. (The IDF cannot accompany them into Syria, as that would be an “act of war” in the eyes of warring factions in Syria.)
Giving is the Israeli way…whether to Jewish or Arab communities! We can all learn the principle of tikkun olam (“repair of the world”).