In 1947, the fate of the future state of Israel teetered precariously. It was thought to come down to three votes...one was Haiti. The nation of Haiti voted for the Partition Plan - a call for the establishment of a nation for the Arab population...and the re-establishment of a nation for the Jewish population that had been sent into exile and had, in recent years, rejoined the remnants of the small Jewish community that had never left.
Israel was created in May, 1948 to the joy of Jews around the world, and the seemingly ever-lasting hatred of the Arabs. Israel and Haiti established full diplomatic relations, but beyond that, we are worlds apart in many ways.
A devastating earthquake shattered heavily populated areas of Haiti just days ago. Israel immediately began preparations to do what it has done repeatedly - in Kenya, Turkey, Indonesia and elsewhere. Teams of doctors have left Israel to set up a field hospital and care for the wounded; our Homefront Command has already sent a delegation to help in the search and rescue.
And on the side, another effort, quiet and modest, is taking place. We are searching for our own. How many Israelis are missing; how many Jews. Immediately but quietly - aware of the massive devastation, we learn there are were 8 Israelis missing - all have now been located safely. This hasn't stopped the amazing effort to help others...it just quiets a small place in our hearts as we once again turn to help others.