Time Magazine’s cover story of September 13th bore the provocative (if not incendiary) title “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” As Israel’s Ambassador to the United States—Michael Oren—pointed out, this is news to Israelis.  Fundamentally, the Peace Index Polling conducted by the Tamal Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University found in July, 2010—that more than 70% of Israelis support negotiations with the Palestinians, and a number nearly that large supports a two state solution.  Indeed, with Prime Minister Netanyahu welcoming to his home the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a continuation of peace negotiations, Israelis and Jews throughout the world pray for their success in this season of Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan.

Israel’s impulse for peace and humanitarianism expands worldwide and recently our community heard about this first hand from Dr. Ofer Merin.  Dr. Merin is an Israeli Cardiac surgeon who directed the surgical activities in the Israeli field hospital in Haiti after the devastating earthquake earlier this year. Dr. Merin is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF’s Medical Corps where he serves as Chief of Army Field Hospitals.  Dr. Merin currently serves as the Deputy Director General at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Israel and Director of the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Program.

While in Haiti, Dr. Merin was in charge of approximately 120 IDF nurses, physicians, and medics, which was one of the largest medical units to respond to the earthquake.  His unit arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, three days after the country was hit by the strongest earthquake it has experienced in 200 years.  His work, and the work of the IDF’s response team, was widely recognized for its speed, professionalism, and precision.

The video of Dr. Merin’s presentation can be seen by clicking on these links:  part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.