Israel’s Offers Of Aid For Beirut In Keeping With Noble Traditions Of Jewish Ethics
|Published•Thu, Aug 13, 2020|
Beirut has been shaken to its foundations in the aftermath of the massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital on Aug. 4. In keeping with core Jewish values of tzedek and chesed, righteousness and kindness, Israel’s leaders promptly offered medical assistance and humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
By now, images of Beirut imploding have reverberated in television news reports, across social media and in online publications. Havoc and chaos have roiled Lebanon to the collapse of its government on Monday, Aug. 10. More than 200 Lebanese were killed by the explosion, more than 7,000 were injured and approximately 300,000 residents of Beirut are homeless.
To put those numbers into perspective, remember that the population of Beirut is estimated to be between 1 million to 2.6 million people. The population of the city of Houston is generally estimated at 2.6 million and the Greater Houston area is cited as being 6.9 million. Imagine what the city of Houston would be like if, due to a cataclysmic event like Beirut’s explosion, some 300,000 Houstonians were adrift throughout the city, thousands were injured and even more were starving. Teeming numbers of the elderly and children coping with such a disaster are heartbreaking.
Houstonians can relate to this cataclysmic event. In 2017, the city was washed asunder by Hurricane Harvey. Just as residents of Beirut now are coping with disaster, hundreds of thousands of Houstonians coped with massive destruction, sickness and hunger inflicted by a tropical storm of biblical proportions.
In keeping with our traditions, Israel’s leaders promptly offered aid to Lebanon.
“We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer aid at this difficult time,” Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin tweeted after the explosion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is ready to provide medical and humanitarian aid to Lebanon. Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi sent word through diplomatic channels that Israel is eager to aid the Lebanese people in the wake of the tragedy.
The Times of Israel reported earlier this week that Lebanon has not officially responded to Israel’s offers of aid. The newspaper also said that Lebanon is “expected to refuse help, due to long-standing enmity between the countries, which are officially at war and especially due to the Shiite terror group Hezbollah’s hold over state decision-making.”
A number of Israel’s most highly skilled disaster-response doctors nonetheless are making plans to treat Lebanese wounded in last week’s blast. The Times of Israel also reported that plans are being made to treat the injured in a third country, perhaps Cypress, in an “ad-hoc hospital.”
Lebanon has been ravaged by mounting unemployment and its mounting financial crisis has racked the financial resources of its population.
French President Emmanuel Macron relayed Israel’s offer of assistance when he made an unexpected visit to Beirut last week to survey the devastation.
Israel’s offers to aid the Lebanese people is not without controversy. Knesset member Betzalel Smotrich (Yamina Pa