Image by United Nations Development Programme and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicenseEver since Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake on January 12, 2010, the eyes of the world have been focused on the country and the rescue and relief efforts taking place.
In Israel, we've been taking pride in the fact that for once, the news reports have not been condemning Israel but praising the performance of the Israeli team in Haiti. Even CNN, who rarely has a kind word for us, has been impressed with the Israeli response in Haiti.
Interviews with representatives of the Israeli team and reports on the Israeli field hospital can be found on Anderson Cooper's blog (Israel's medical operation in Haiti) and NBC's nightly news with Brian Williams.
Of course, not all the press about Israel has been positive and we seem to be our own worst enemies. Israel's very own Haaretz published Akiva Eldar's Israel's compassion in Haiti can't hide our ugly face in Gaza while other critics claim that we're only in it for the public relations - Haiti: An Israeli Public Relations Moment? and יחסי הציבור של המוות
I can accept that PR plays a part in Israel's decision to send aid abroad but I don't think it's the only (or biggest) consideration and I don't think it negates all the good we're doing. I choose to believe Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister, who said: "We are doing that because we are Jews, we are Israelis, and because we were brought up with this famous Talmudic perception 'Saving one life is like saving the entire world'."
Here are some links for keeping up with Israel's continuing efforts to assist the people of Haiti:
IDFinHaiti - Twitter updates from IDF and Israeli aid delegation in Haiti
idfnadesk - IDF Spokesperson's Unit official YouTube channel
Haiti Earthquake 2010 - Israel Humanitarian Aid - Facebook group