Sunday, January 24, 2010

Those Intrepid Israelis

After I got over my infatuation with Ari ben Canaan (Exodus, 1958) and his manly involvement in the creation of Israel, long after I admired the fearlessness of the Haganah, the inherent romantic ideal of the Sabra and the immensely sensible structure of the Kibbutzim, I began to doubt all that Israel represented.

Years after the birth of their country in 1948, the Israelis began throwing their weight around in the Middle East and I couldn't help but judge them. They were brainy and belligerent bullies who wanted to own all that land which belonged as much to the Arabs as it did to them. I began to despise the muscle-flexing Benjamin Netanyahu and his threats against Iran.

Yet, I reminded myself, the Israelis had brought forth a veritable garden from the dry and rocky Negev Desert. They had elected Golda Meir as Prime Minister long before most countries would take their women seriously. And, they allowed their women to fight.

Today they have rekindled my admiration somewhat.

This pip-squeak little nation with the attitude called upon all of that tremendous ability to perform miracles and sent “. . .120 doctors and nurses, rescue teams, search dogs and equipment and supplies for establishing a sophisticated field hospital capable of treating 500 patients daily” (

The extraordinary response was accomplished within 48 hours of the Haitian earthquake this month -- all the way from the Middle East and not the from the U.S., which lies only a few hundred miles north. The results of this mission could effectively be compared to what we used to call "American ingenuity" but is solely within the province of Israeli know-how and preparedness.

I salute you, Israel, Ari would have been proud. But do me a favor and stay away from Iran.

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