May 06, 2015

Israel in Nepal--No Good Deed Goes Uncriticized

                                                                                        photo credit: gagaforIsrael

The IDF-led team from Israel rushed to Nepal and within 12 hours of landing in Katmandu had set up a working field hospital and had begun search and rescue operations. In fact, Israel’s team of doctors, nurses, trauma specialists, and disaster relief experts is the second largest in Nepal, with an on-the-ground crew of 260.

India has sent a team of 450; the next largest is from the US with 128. Not that it is a competition. But neither is it a public relations stunt--in spite of what you may read in some reporting.

Israel has become a world leader in disaster response and humanitarian relief efforts and shares its expertise generously wherever it is needed, as it did during crises in Turkey, Haiti, Japan, and elsewhere. In Nepal so far, Israeli doctors have treated hundreds of injured Nepalese, have delivered babies, and have performed several hundred surgeries.  

Their hospital cares for at least 200 people a day. They even brought a group of “hospital clowns” who work in Israeli hospitals to spend time with Nepalese children.  They have delivered 700 tons of medical equipment and supplies. The state of Israel has “adopted” a village that was destroyed by the earthquake and is working with the Nepalese government to rebuild the entire village.

And yet, Israel’s humanitarian effort in Nepal provokes negative media response. Daniel Gordis summarizes here.

But the good news, and the best argument against the criticism, is that Israel will continue helping around the world regardless of the press it receives.