But even more prominent critics of Israel often betray their basic ignorance of hessed, the core Jewish concept of grace, benevolence and compassion. To infer that Israel went to Surfside only because of that community’s substantial Jewish population ignores the tiny state’s similar rescue teams sent to places like Ghana, Kenya and Mexico City. In 1953, when an earthquake in Greece took more than 1,000 lives, Israel Navy ships were on the scene to provide medical treatment to survivors. Not so, however, in Surfside, where in the early morning of June 24, a 12-story beachfront condominium suddenly disintegrated. Although Israel’s quick-response medical team in Surfside , Florida, was generally well-received, there were some notable naysayers.
Related:THE JERUSALEM POST - American philanthropist Larry Hochberg on the importance of courage
Larry Hochberg laughs when I ask him why his name does not so easily appear online. We had a large family business already, I was also working on my own business – and suddenly, Israel was surrounded. I went to the Israeli Consul General and told him, ‘I’ll go over there,’ and he said, ‘No, Hochberg! You in Israel understand that fragility, but the new generations in the Diaspora Jewish community have not necessarily adjusted to this new reality. I think that we all realize that we can’t convince everyone to love Israel – that’s not going to happen.