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Healing the Enemy (January 2016)

Victims of the terrible Syrian civil war have been at the center of the world's attention for months.  The refugees flooding into Europe, questions in American political conversation about how many to let in and who, concerns about terrorist infiltration into the refugee mix are all part of the discussion emanating out of this terrible catastrophe effecting millions of innocent Syrian civilians.  During this recent holiday hiatus of the political campaigns there has been less noise and attention to the issue, but it is an ongoing tragedy of immense proportions and complexity.

A part of the story has been taking place in Israel.  The entire world should know about it.  It is remarkable, especially considering that since the inception of the State of Israel, actually even before, Syria has been one of, if not the most, vicious enemies of the Jewish State.  Israeli friends have told me for years that treatment of Israeli prisoners of war by the Syrians has been far worse than that of all of the other Arab countries surrounding Israel. While Israel has been demonized by virtually all of the Arab governments, and hatred of Israel has been taught in all of the Arab educational systems (including the Palestinians, by the way), historically hatred of Israel has been especially acute in Syria.

All the more remarkable, then, is the treatment that sick and wounded Syrian refugees have been receiving by Israeli doctors.  The Israeli army and the Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat are among those institutions who have been involved in caring for Syrian victims of the civil war. 

Recently Dr. Salman Zarka of Ziv, one of the key figures in this work, was in the U.S. trying to spread the word about this incredible humanitarian effort.  Here is the audio and the text of his recent appearance on WGBH radio:

I would like to think that the more people who knew about what Israel is doing to help the Syrians, the more it would help her image.  After all, Israel is often criticized for not doing enough on the hasbarah (public relations) front.  By all means, please pass this along to as many people as you can.  On the other hand, perhaps "gar nicht helfen," it might not help as much as it should, because the haters gonna hate no matter what. 

Regardless, it is just one more good and just thing that Israel is doing that doesn't make the headlines, which I want us to be aware of and to appreciate.

Fri, July 12 2024 6 Tammuz 5784