While Israel is under constant international scrutiny and is even the target of a virulent boycott movement, the small country is always one of the first to send help to other nations in the event of a natural disaster. It was no different when this weekend Israel sent a search-and-rescue team to Brazil after a dam collapsed leaving dozens of people dead and nearly 300 still missing. Motivated by the concept of tikkun olam, repairing the world, Israel’s response to the disaster in Brazil is indicative of how the nation responds to crises such as this. Israel frequently dispatches some sort of aid or rescue teams to help local authorities of both friendly and hostile countries.
This time, the IDF delegation is made up of 130 military search-and-rescue specialists and medical officers. Members of Israel’s scuba unit from the Navy will assist in underwater missions with radar, underwater sonar, cellular detection systems and drones to locate the missing. Since the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ties between Israel and Brazil have warmed. The Brazilian president said he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended Bolsonaro’s inauguration earlier this month. Of course, Israel’s enemies—who are doing nothing to help Brazil—are accusing us of only doing good to distract from the Palestinian issue. As if a few days of showing mercy is going to overshadow the decades old conflict in the Middle East. Israel helps because it is the right thing to do!