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November 08, 2012

Where's the Coverage? Israelis Help Hurricane Sandy Victims


On October 29, "Super-Storm Sandy" made landfall on the eastern coast of the United States. The storm destroyed thousands of homes, left millions without electric power, heat or hot water, and killed over a hundred. Gasoline, food and other necessities remain in short supply, particularly in some of the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey.

Given that Israel is often the country first on the scene with aid at major natural disasters, it should be no surprise to learn that various Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working to bring relief to victims and supplies to emergency workers in New York and New Jersey. Except you wouldn't learn it from most of the popular press.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, a delegation of about a dozen trained rescue volunteers from IsraAID is leaving Israel headed for the devastated areas of New York's Long Island and the New Jersey shore. Leading the group is Shahar Zahavi, who oversaw relief work in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

In addition, affiliated NGOs Israel Flying Aid and Israeli Humanitarian Aid-Latet, ("latet" means "to give" in Hebrew) are already at work. "We have been responsible for making fuel deliveries to hospitals in New Jersey, and going directly down into the South Shore of Long Island and delivering generators, food and providing other essential equipment and supplies," says Ra'anana resident and volunteer Joel Leyden. "We're talking about devastation close to a nuclear bomb having gone off, with hundreds of homes completely leveled and thousands of people without electricity, without food, without water, without shelter."

Residents and those working in the area have been happy to see the Israelis. Dr. Jason Mallin, who normally practices neurology at North Shore University Hospital but was volunteering with the Nassau County Department of Health, said, "We read about Israel and the great work you did in Haiti. We have thousands here that need you. It's awesome that you are here!"

Only The Wall Street Journal picked up an Associated Press brief mentioning this news. The story was also covered in more depth by some in the Jewish press.

Other than that, this news has been utterly ignored. Though Sandy wreaked havoc on their readership, neither The New York Times nor the New Jersey newspapers gave any space to a story about Israelis traveling half-way around the globe to help hurting Americans, instead deeming it more important to their readers to inform them about internal Israeli politics, Scientology attempting to make inroads in Israel and an Israeli flim festival.

Given that hundreds of thousands are still suffering, you’d think it would be helpful to them to know that someone is trying to help. But… Where's the coverage?

Generator to Sandy.jpg
Roger Parrott, Jacob Parrott and Joel Leyden deliver a generator and gas to a Hurricane Sandy New York victim. Photo: Rebecca McCann /Israel News Agency

Posted by SC at November 8, 2012 05:37 PM


If one wants to help, for the sake goodness, it's not very noble to complain that people doesn't salute you enough. In fact it's quite distasteful to do so...

Posted by: Pj at November 10, 2012 05:47 AM

Hi Pj, I think the point that was being made, and very aptly so, is that, sadly, the media is biased and slanted against Israel. The media is very quick to want to cover any negative thing Israel might do (and often prints un-truths and half-truths / *not the "whole story", f/e when Israel fights *"back" after many rockets are fired into Israel's civilian population, the media often says that Israel), but the many good things Israel does are rarely, if ever, written or talked about.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 10, 2012 03:27 PM

thank you for the help you are giving to those in need.
we appreciate it

Posted by: lauren hilliard at November 15, 2012 10:26 AM

Recognition of assistance in disasters is so common that the comment by Pj smacks of other agendas. Recognition is not disaster assisters agenda, but is appropriate, I guess not in the case by Pj. There are other small disaster relief groups, which, by the way, did not participate in the Sandy disaster, which also deserve recongition for their significant contribution and do not get enough support or recognition To name only two, Knightsbridge, which steps in when other NGo's leave because of danger, and Cambodian Self Help Demining, which is undoing the landmines in Cambodia and also supports the children who continue being killed and maimed by old ordinance left behind from the Kamir Rouge times. WE need to speak out in support of all of these dedicated people and their support. Lets recognize the good and not complain.

Posted by: uncle Stevie at December 21, 2012 11:01 AM

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