June 20, 2018
Dear Friend of Israel,
A video recently released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu starts with a mundane gesture: the Prime Minister pours water from a pitcher into a glass and takes a drink.
With that simple gesture, he goes on to make an extraordinary offer to the Iranian people. Noting that the vast majority of Iran suffers from drought, and that the Iranian regime does not do enough to supply water to its people, he announces that Israel is putting up a website that will directly share its water reclamation and irrigation technologies with the Iranian people – lifesaving technologies that Israel has developed and perfected over decades.
Given the current situation with Iran, it is an astonishingly generous offer. The Iranian regime has promised time and again to destroy Israel. Iran uses terrorist groups like Hezbollah as proxy armies to attack Israel, and continually shows its hatred for Israel in harsh rhetoric and acts of terror. But in his video, Prime Minister Netanyahu is careful to make a distinction between the hostile Iranian government and the Iranian people. “The Iranian regime shouts, ‘Death to Israel!’” he says. “In response, Israel shouts, ‘Life to the Iranian people!’”
Another humanitarian miracle happens, quietly, every night in northern Israel. Under cover of darkness, injured Syrians, many of them children who have been wounded in Syria’s bloody civil war, are quietly shuttled across the Israel-Syria border. Israel Defense Forces medics treat the wounded, and allow them to stay in the IDF hospital until they recover. God Himself only knows how many Syrian hearts have been changed toward Israel because of Israel’s gracious gesture.
None of this should come as a surprise. Israel, in fact, is in the business of life. The Jewish state has a long history of reaching out to the world in the event of severe storms, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Israel is often the first country on the ground in such situations, bringing her cutting-edge technology and expertise to saves lives.
Israel’s humanitarian efforts around the world may not draw much attention, but good publicity is not the point. Saving lives is. Today, let us thank God for this generous spirit of life and giving that characterizes the Jewish state – and helps us recognize it as what God called it to be, a “light unto the nations.”
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President