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      IDF Winds Up Haiti Rescue as US Hospital Ship Arrives

      IDF medical and rescue teams in Haiti are packing up for home while Israel offers to search for plane crash victims near Lebanon Monday morning.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 1/25/2010, 8:49 AM / Last Update: 1/25/2010, 8:31 AM

      IDF rescue and medical teams are packing up for home this week 10 days after they led the world in rendering emergency help for the victims of the Haiti earthquake disaster January 12. A video shows an Israeli search and rescue team saving a 22-year-old Haitian man from the ruins of a three-story building 10 days after the disaster.

      The humanitarian effort resulted in an unintended but badly-needed boost to Israel’s image in foreign media after accusations of alleged war crimes in fighting terrorism in Gaza last year and causing an alleged humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

      Nevertheless, several anti-Israeli websites accused Israel of stealing body organs in Haiti, and the British Guardian published an article about Israel's rescue efforts under the headline "Israel's double standards over Haiti."

      Israel already has offered to help search for survivors of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, two miles west of Lebanon early Monday morning, shortly after takeoff from Beirut. Terrorism has been ruled out as the cause of the crash, which occurred during a fierce winter storm. Approximately 90 people, 50 of them Lebanese, were on board.

      Photo: IDF nurse Margarita Madon and two premature babies  The IDF aid delegation in Haiti will continue to provide assistance and support even after most of the support team flies back home on Thursday. The supports teams this week built three water towers capable of holding up to 12 thousand liters of water each and built shelters for the homeless.

      Israeli civil engineers in Haiti also opened central traffic routes that had been blocked in the aftermath of the earthquake. Medical personnel have performed 233 life-saving surgeries and delivered 10 babies.

      The Jewish State’s help in Haiti startled the Western world, especially the United States, whose hospital ship arrived only three days ago and took some of the pressure off Israel’s state of the art field hospital that was featured on major American television outlets four days after it was set up.

      Approximately 250 doctors, 25 nurses and support teams participated in the rescue and search efforts that continued even after Haiti officials officially said the rescue operations were over. Two days ago, the Israel team saved an earthquake survivor who had been living under the rubble for 10 days, living on soda and cookies that he found.

                                                                                      Photo: IDF Col. Dr. Itzik Kryce and US army officers  The army's ”Oketz” unit sent dogs to look for people trapped in the debris that devastated Port-au-Prince. Orthodox Jews comprised part of the ZAKA rescue team that identified victims and gave first aid to the wounded.

      Israel’s long experience in disasters and constant terrorists attacks since before the re-establishment the Jewish State in 1948 has helped the country develop advanced systems for search and rescue missions. Israel's Center for International Cooperation has assisted more than 140 countries, noted Middle analyst Emanuel A. Winston.

      Special teams are equipped with fiber-optic cameras and microphones that can be snaked through the rubble to see and hear buried victims deep inside collapsed buildings. Past recipients of Israeli global disaster aid have been Mumbai, the place where Muslim terrorists murdered six Jews at the Chabad House and more than 150 others in nearby hotels more than a year ago.

      Photo: IDF Doctors Col. Ariel Bar and Chaim Levon   Israel also sent help to China after an earthquake and to Myanmar after a cyclone in 2008 and assisted Turkish earthquake victims in 1999. Other assistance was given to Peru, India and El Salvador earthquake victims in 2001 and Sri Lankan flood victims in 2003.

      See the following for articles on Israel’s rescue efforts in Haiti:
      On A Mission To Haiti On Behalf Of The Jewish People  
      Video: IDF Search & Rescue Team Saves Trapped Man in Haiti   
      Video: 'Israel' Born In Haiti After IDF Delivers Healthy Baby  
      New IDF Delegation to Depart to Haiti