A Country with a Big Heart

A Country with a Big Heart

Credit:(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Dear Friend of Israel,

World governments and media choose so often to focus on Israel’s faults – real or imagined – to the exclusion of all else. And yet, when a dam recently collapsed in Brazil, killing dozens of people and leaving hundreds missing, Israel quickly dispatched a 130-person Israel Defense Forces team to provide search-and-rescue and medical assistance.

This should come as no surprise. As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu put it eloquently in 2010 after sending a relief team to assist survivors of a devastating earthquake in Haiti: “This is the true heritage of the state of Israel and the Jewish people … We may be a small country, but we are a country with a big heart. This is the expression of Jewish ethics and heritage – to help others.”

The quickness of Israel’s response is rooted in the sobering fact that the threat of terrorism has forced Israel to find new and creative ways to save lives. Israel gladly shares its knowledge in Brazil, as it has in years past when other humanitarian needs have surfaced throughout the world.

This effort comes at a time of both hope and crisis for Jews in South America. Relations between Israel and Brazil are flourishing, and Brazil is poised to follow the lead of other nations, including the U.S., by moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

On the other hand, the situation for Jews in Venezuela is troubling. Tens of thousands have left the country in the past decade to escape crippling poverty and rising anti-Semitism, which has been fueled by a deeply unstable and volatile political climate.

The Fellowship cannot “fix” the chaos. But I pray that our outreach in this part of the world will give the Jewish population new hope. In the past several years, we have helped nearly 200 Venezuelan Jews make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) – and we will continue to help those who want to rebuild their lives come to the Holy Land, so that they can live freely as Jews in a free country.

My friends, please pray for the people affected by the devastating dam collapse in Brazil, and for the success of the humanitarian efforts there. Pray too for the safety of Venezuela’s Jewish community, and for The Fellowship‘s outreach in South America. And pray for the day when “the true heritage of the state of Israel and the Jewish people” – a heritage of peace, promoting freedom, and helping those in need – becomes known to the entire world.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

Jews around the world face chaos, violence, and anti-Semitism. Help a Jewish family start a new life in Israel.

More From Rabbi's Commentary

Rabbi's Commentary

We Remember, We Act

As we remember the terrible legacy of the Holocaust, we act to create a legacy of hope that provides Holocaust survivors in Israel and the former Soviet Union with a measure of peace and comfort in their twilight years.

Rabbi's Commentary

Creating a Just World

As the U.S. observes Martin Luther King Day, let us remember that, as Jews and Christians, we must reject hatred, speak out against injustice, and be united by the shared tenets of our faiths.

Rabbi's Commentary

Wise Ears and Understanding Hearts

In the noisy and politically charged world we find ourselves in today, let us remember that works of man rise and fall, but that true freedom is found in trusting in God. Only then will we truly understand what it means to "live in safety and be at ease."

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.