“And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)
This is part of Israel’s calling. Israel has designed and created much of what that the rest of the world now uses as commonplace like cellphones, internet chats, flash drives, computer processors components, voicemail, agricultural irrigation techniques, medical breakthroughs and even those crazy fidget spinners. Yet one aspect is often overlooked as been rising to the top in recent months- voluntary humanitarian aid teams and services.
Within hours of hurricane Harvey’s wind slowing down, Israeli teams were on the way to Houston. For over 10 years, the non-governmental, non-profit organization IsraAID has responded to national disasters around the world. They have been in Houston from the beginning helping with debris cleanup and practical, physical support. As of September 5, it is reported that the Israel’s ministry of Diaspora Affairs (a government agency that serves Jewish needs around the world) is giving 1 million dollars to help rebuild the Jewish communal infrastructure in Houston. All this help has come with very little fanfare and a matter of fact attitude that has been getting things done.
But these actions aren’t unique. Within days of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Israeli doctors were already set up in triage tents and caring for wounded while other responding nations were just arriving. Israeli experts also responded to recent 8.1 earthquake in Mexico.
For well over a year, Israel has been quietly caring for Syrian civil war refugees on their northern border. An Israeli hospital has treated a severe digestive tract infection for the granddaughter of Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who open calls for Israel’s destruction. As of August 2017, Israeli doctors caring for the famed Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat are recommending an immediate lung transplant in order for him to survive. And this for a man who is openly anti-Israel and is fully supportive of boycotting the Jewish State whenever possible. When asked why they care for their enemies, doctors often reply that nothing takes precedent over human life, regardless of religion or politics.
Whether in natural disasters around the world, medical treatment for refugees or caring from those that hate them, we could all take a lesson on how we could respond from a small country called to be “a light to the nations”.
Doug Hershey is an author, conference speaker and founder of Ezra Adventures. Ezra Adventures specializes in customized and personalized small group travel to Israel, West Bank and Jordan consisting of service projects, adventure day trips and unique biblical sites. Doug has been involved in Israel-related projects and has cultivated unique relationships in Israel for almost 20 years. In 2008, Doug wrote a book called 'The Christian's Biblical Guide to Understanding Israel.' In 2013, he co-authored a joint resolution in support of Israel that passed the Maine State Legislature, making it the 7th state in the US to do so. His ground breaking photo book project “Israel Rising: Ancient Prophecy/Modern Lens” is currently being reviewed by several international publishers which combines historical first hand accounts of the land with exact side by side comparison photos from the 1880s-1940s to today, showing how much the land has blossomed under Israeli sovereignty, just as Scriptures foretold. When he is not in Israel, he has been speaking in churches and synagogues around the United States about the importance of Israel in the Bible, understanding current events from a biblical worldview and how biblical prophecy is coming to pass today in accurate, literal and tangible ways.