(Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. @smflatow)
Have you ever noticed how so much of what Israel does benefits the international community? Just this past week, Israel aided earthquake victims in Italy and flood victims in the United States, made an important breakthrough in the fight against cancer, and extended desperately-needed assistance to a beleaguered Third World country.
The international community didn't notice any of that. It was too busy searching for a Jewish "settlement" to condemn or an Israeli military action to denounce as "disproportionate."
Meanwhile, Israel was extending disproportionate kindness to the rest of the world.
A delegation of Israeli search-and-rescue experts and trauma specialists flew to Italy to help victims of the earthquake there. At the same time, another Israeli delegation traveled to Louisiana to assist victims of the deadly floods.
On the medical front, a team of Israeli and German medical researchers, headed by Dr. Carmit Levy of Tel Aviv University, announced that they have discovered the means by which melanoma -- the most dangerous form of skin cancer -- spreads through its victims. "We discovered how the cancer spreads to distant organs and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage," Dr. Levy said.
Imagine how many people around the world will benefit from this Israeli research.
Humanitarians talk a lot about how developed countries should do more to help the Third World. Israel, as usual, is talking less and doing more. The latest beneficiary is the Central American country of Honduras. Ravaged by organized crime, Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Kidnappings and carjackings are common. That kind of chaos directly accelerates the country's other problems, which include 50% of the population living below the poverty line and an unemployment rate of around 28%.
The beleaguered Honduran police force desperately needs assistance from the nation's military, but until now the army has not been equipped to play that role. President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced last week that Israel has agreed to provide technology that will significantly strengthen the Honduran army and thereby contribute to the fight against organized crime. Less crime will mean better lives for ordinary Hondurans. That will help them a lot more than all the lofty rhetoric that makes the rounds.
Israelis don't seem to be too bothered by the fact that the international community doesn't show much appreciation. They'll keep on helping cancer patients and flood victims and impoverished Third Worlders for the simplest of reasons: just because it's the right thing to do.