I have a secret to tell you about Israel. You may not know this…and you won’t know it if you read the news.
Today, a building collapsed – or, to be accurate, an underground, four-level parking lot in one of the center’s of Israel’s thriving hi-tech community. Within seconds, literally seconds, emergency calls were generated. The Home Front Command mobilized, the IDF sent their search and rescue division, including search dogs.
So far, no secret. This is what was the top news in Israel and is likely featured in media around the world.
Here is the secret: As Israeli rescue forces dug through the rubble, endangering their lives in the face of potentially further collapses, every one of those workers and most Israelis knew something that won’t appear in mainstream media. Those in desperate need, those screaming out from below the rubble begging Israelis to come help them, were definitely foreign workers or Palestinians. You see, very few Jews actually work in construction in Israel.
The area under question is a building. A single building site. We sent a 60-member national reserves search and rescue unit. We sent 45 specially trained crew members from three different battalions. We also sent another 33 rescue workers from the Home Front Command Central District.
It’s a very sad truth. The work is hard and the pay relatively low for those living in Israel. For Palestinians, the salary is worlds above what they could earn in their own areas and they are grateful for the conditions and the work.
What you saw was a wounded person being carried by seven or 8 rescue workers and medics. As they begin to move, the ground is not level and at least one person almost stumbles and several more rush in to grab the stretcher and assist.
Now, remember my secret. There’s a really good chance that the man lying on that stretcher, having just been pulled from the rubble, is a Palestinian. Do you see any hesitation among the Israelis?
Today, these human beings needed help and our highly trained emergency teams did not hesitate. There are emergency forces in the fire department. This was a civilian building. And yet, no one was fooling around. They called in the guys we send around the world. This is an area in which we excel and one that we share readily with others.
They rushed to the aid of the construction workers, knowing with a very high probability that they were helping Palestinians.
Will we be thanked? Nope, not once.
Will the UN pass a resolution praising our response? Nope.
Will President Obama congratulate us on our humanity, our compassion. Yeah…not.
But you see, it doesn’t matter because what we did, we did because we truly are a society that operates with a simple principle. When a human being is in danger and we have the ability to help, we do.
We have offered help to Turkey, to Syria, certainly to the Jordanians and the Egyptians. We provide constant assistance to the Palestinians – medical, financial, and more.
Today, we simply rushed in to save lives where lives needed to be saved. Nothing else mattered – not their religion, not the color of their skin, not their gender, their economic status. Nothing.
I am very proud of my country at this moment. The best of Israel came shining through today because that’s the kind of nation we have created. Surrounded by enemies, we remain true to a commitment to cherish lives, save lives.Paula Stern