Of course regrettably these days so many news items all over the world, have had to mention the terrible disaster in Haiti after the earthquake there, and a large number of countries in the world have sent help-teams and money  for aiding the unfortunate people.  Israel too, is amongst those giving help. Two El Al planes took off from Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday night carrying a 121-member delegation that included 40 doctors, five search-and-rescue teams,with specially trained dogs for searching for survivors in the ruins. A field hospital has been set up. We hear that another plane is now leaving Israel with more medical equpment and materials.

Prime Minister Natanyahu said amongst other words,” Given Israel’s security needs, we have accumulated much search and rescue experience over the years. We have applied this experience previously in disaster scenes throughout the world – in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Turkey and elsewhere. I hope and wish that the Israeli mission will succeed, this time as well, in saving as many lives – children, parents and families – in Haiti as possible. This is in accordance with the best Jewish tradition of aiding one’s fellow men.”  One thing is strange though. So far I have not heard of many  (if any) Muslim countries giving aid to Haiti. Where are all those oil-rich Arab countries when it comes to helping others?

On a completely different subject I will now write a few lines about the great number of people crossing via Egypt illegally into Israel. There is an official assessment that 100-200 people are crossing illegally into Israel each week – the majority of them from Eritrea, others from Somalia and the Ivory Coast, and very few from Sudan with legitimate refugee claims –  but this is almost certainly an understatement. Now, the government has committed itself to taking overdue border-protection action and intends to build an ultra-sophisticated fence and introduce improved technological devices all the way along the border while construction progresses, and to aim ultimately for a complete hermetic barrier. This will not only take much time, but also much money (where will that be found?).                                       

Netanyahu declared on this issue, “We are talking about a strategic decision to ensure the Jewish and democratic nature of the State of Israel, and close the southern border to smugglers and terrorists.” He also alluded to the gradual reduction of the country’s Jewish majority that would result from an escalated influx of illegals.I’ll end with the latest weather report. A storm has been raging since Sunday night mostly in the south and many roads there have been closed down due to floods. But it’s not only closed roads which are now the problem, even the Nitzana Bridge collapsed due to heavy rainfalls. Vehicles have been swept away, and some people, including a woman about to give birth had to be rescued by helicopters. In many places in the southern Negev, schools have been closed because of the downpour of rain. The rain is now moving northwards and is expected to last all week. Hopefully it will add water to Lake Kinneret which has been at a dangerously low level for the last few years Although this rain is unpleasant for the normal citizens, it is a blessing after so many drought years..Snow is also expected on the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon.    Shalom from Irene



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