December 30, 2004

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Israel and Sri Lanka

Rumors are flying that Sri Lanka has rejected humanitarian aid from Israel. Untrue, according to the Israeli government web site, which has the full story here. Beware, however, that it is dated 12/28:

In accordance with the decision of the Minister of Defense and in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, and given the dimensions of the devastation, the IDF has sent a humanitarian aid delegation and medical supplies to Sri Lanka.... Following the request of the Sri Lankan government, a shipment of medicines, water, food, blankets and generators was sent, accompanied by a delegation of some 50 medical and rescue personnel.
The ADL, meanwhile, has blasted the Vatican newspaper for a "spurious and misleading report" that falsely claimed the Israeli government had denied emergency relief for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. According to the ADL release, "in fact the Israeli government's offer to provide a team of medical and security personnel was rejected by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry."

Finally, the JTA reported yesterday that

Four top doctors from Israelís Hadassah Hospital were dispatched to Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the ministryís request, Hadassah said. Among them were the hospitalís head of general surgery and trauma, its chief of pediatrics and two anesthesiologists.

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka turned down an Israeli offer to send military personnel to help with search-and-rescue efforts, but said it would accept a smaller team.

Update: Mon, Jan 3:
The Israeli Consulate is distributing a fax from the Sri Lankan Government, which says "the generous assistance readily given by the Government and people of Israel at this hour of need is highly appreciated by the Government and people of Sri Lanka."

As to the reports the S.L. had rejected an Israeli rescue team asociated with the IDF, the Sri Lankan government explains that it was

constrained to request delaying the arrival of the 150 member Israeli rescue and relief team, while the medical supplies and food offered by the Israeli people were accepted. This was due to the lack of accomodation available in the country at this point and skilled manpower required for medical attention becoming adequate for the present in many areas.

This may be spin, of course, but I'd rather have spin than condemnation. Clearly both governments want to erase the impression that they are at odds.


In view of the facts surrounding Sri Lanka's refusal to accept Israeli helpers, I think that all American Jews should refuse to contribute to any Tsunami aid funds, and TELL THEM THE REASON WHY!

Posted by: Phil Rosenblatt at January 4, 2005 8:47 AM

In view of the facts surrounding Sri Lanka's refusal to accept Israeli helpers, I think that all American Jews should refuse to contribute to any Tsunami aid funds, and TELL THEM THE REASON WHY!

Posted by: Phil Rosenblatt at January 4, 2005 8:48 AM

A couple of problems with that approach:

1) Sri Lanka didn't refuse to accept aid, as detailed above

2) It's bad enough that victims in, say, Indonesia are suffering because of their country's political problems. To penalize victims from other countries is just foolish.

Posted by: Reb Yudel at January 5, 2005 6:19 PM

The Reb's comments make no sense at all. That's like saying the German people were not responsible for the actions of their government during WW II. Sorry, but that's liberalism to its extreme. It's sad that people have to suffer, but you don't aid those that spit on you.

Posted by: horatio alger at January 7, 2005 2:59 PM

I suggest that all Jews who are rightly moved toward compassion toward those suffering from the tsunami give generously to Israel. Follow your hearts. Give to those most in need whose lives have been shattered by floods of cruelty and waves of insanity. Give to those whose loved ones have drowned in blood and shrapnel. Unlike Sri Lanka the waters have yet to recede in Israel. Give to her before its too late.

Posted by: Ian Zimmerman at January 8, 2005 1:24 AM

When your neighbor's home is on fire, you don't haggle over the price of the garden hose, or even spend time thinking it over. Israel ofered aid and was turned down because a vocal 7% minority poulation of Muslims would rather die than accept help from Israel. We all know it, and the countries will never say it themselves.
If you are unconvinced as to what actually ocurred, I recommend that you read this:
Not giving to people that need it, even the 7% that don't want your help is not what WE do. It's not what Israel does! There's a time to stand up and a time to sit and hold tight to your morals. When an innocent person is in danger, you run.

Posted by: Keith Kaplan at January 10, 2005 12:03 AM

I see some folks try to play politics at the slightest opportunity they get. The True story is Israel was going to sent 150 persons and supplies, at that time Sri Lankan officials did not feel they were able to accomodate all 150 and agreed to let 50 persons come in.

Jews, Christians and Muslims Who believe in All Loving, compassionate, Mercyfull and forgiving GOD should be slow to Anger.

I do not think people cut their hand because one finger nail is ugly.

It is always better to give if helping comes from the heart. If not, it is better to refrain fron spreading bad thoughts and ideas.
No one nation can be sure of 100% security on this earth.

Posted by: Alex J. Perera at January 22, 2005 11:19 PM

I'm deeply touched by the relief efforts by the Israeli Govt., and its people during the tsunami.I wish to express my sense of deep shame at the conduct of our Govt., if the decision was politically motivated, and not for the stated reasons. On a Christian tour of Israel in early March 2006, I met a guy from the IDF reserve forces who was mobilized to go to Sri Lanka, but had to stay back. God bless the Nation of Israel and you,the Jewish People

Posted by: Sinha Dissanayaka at April 3, 2006 12:27 PM
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