July 19, 2024
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The Hebrew Humanitarians

There is no denying the fact that press coverage of Israel by media outlets around the world is often less than flattering. Indeed, Israel is routinely maligned in the media and vilified by those who are theoretically tasked with providing the public with impartial reporting of the news.

As a result of this adverse exposure in the press, Israel’s reputation on the world stage is inevitably tarnished. Although it is undeserved and unwarranted, once the negative coverage about Israel hits the newspapers, the damage is done.

From a public relations perspective, the Israeli government has its work cut out for itself. It is engaged in a constant struggle to counter the disparaging news stories with positive and informative pieces about all that Israel has to offer and all that it has accomplished. Misstatements in the media are promptly rebutted by Israel, and biased coverage of the Jewish State is generally brought to light.

Yet, for all of the negativity that Israel has been forced to endure in the media, there is one issue that has traditionally generated positive press for the Jewish State, and rightfully so.

Several weeks ago, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which absolutely devastated the Philippines and resulted in a great loss of life as well as extensive property and infrastructure damage, I watched a wonderful segment on the NBC Nightly News.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the Chief Medical Editor for NBC News, provided a report from the ravaged nation. What was especially interesting to me was that the focus of her report was Israel. Following the massive storm in the Philippines, the Israeli government did what it always does in the wake of a natural disaster—it sent help.

In her report, Dr. Snyderman spoke about how she was in awe of the medical professionals and other personnel from the Israeli Defense Forces who came to the Philippines. She discussed in glowing terms how well the Israelis assisted those in need by delivering emergency medical care in exceedingly poor conditions. She noted that the Israeli team chose to set up their sophisticated medical operation in Bogo, a small village that had been hit extremely hard by the storm, yet was off the beaten path and therefore was not necessarily getting as much aid as some of the other areas.

This report on NBC was overwhelmingly positive, and Dr. Snyderman spoke about the Israelis in an almost reverential manner. The story enabled the world to get a glimpse of some of the good that emanates from the State of Israel.

When the Israeli team finally left the Philippines, it had provided medical treatment to nearly 3,000 patients and had helped repair a number of damaged buildings, including schools.

In fact, since its founding in 1948, the State of Israel has provided humanitarian aid to more than 140 countries: Following a powerful earthquake in Turkey in 2011, Israel sent a team to construct temporary structures that were needed in order to assist those who were displaced and injured. In 2010, an Israeli team traveled to Haiti to provide aid in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that decimated the small nation. The Israelis set up a temporary hospital and treated countless Haitians who desperately required medical attention. Israel sent four tons of medical aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008 to assist the refugees there who were suffering greatly. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Israel sent a delegation equipped with 80 tons of food and supplies to help all those who were affected by the storm.

In addition, Israel provided emergency relief aid to Sri Lanka after the 2005 tsunami, to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami, and to India after the 2001 earthquake. And the list goes on and on.

When tragedy strikes, Israel is always there to answer the call for help. And it is time that the world finally takes notice of Israel’s benevolence and acknowledges its altruistic acts.

While the United Nations never passes up an opportunity to issue baseless condemnations of Israel, the Israeli government never misses a chance to lend a helping hand to some of those very same countries that have denounced her.

Unfortunately, Israel’s public relations problems will not disappear overnight. Those wishing to denigrate the Jewish State will continue to do so. As such, Israel will keep on employing communications strategies intended to counter the partiality in the press. But one of the best ways that Israel can deflect the daggers that are being thrown at her is to keep doing what she has been doing for so many years, namely, helping people and nations in need. By being the humanitarians that Israelis have proven themselves to be, they can demonstrate to the world that they are not the villains that their antagonists make them out to be.

N. Aaron Troodler is an attorney and a principal of Paul Revere Public Relations, a public relations and political consulting firm. Visit him on the Web at TroodlersTake.blogspot.com, www.PaulReverePR.com, or www.JewishWorldPR.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: _troodler

By N. Aaron Troodler, Esq.

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