a different side of Israel

Tag: Italy

Israeli earthquake rescue teams hope to see action in L’Aquila Italy

Italy EarthquakeWill Israel’s famed IDF Search and Rescue Team, whose feats were well known in past earthquakes in place like Turkey and Mexico, once again see action in Italy? Following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that stuck the city of L’Aquila, located in a mountainous region of central Italy. At least 50 people have been confirmed dead and numerous others unaccounted for in the quake which stuck around 3:30 a.m. and caused numerous Renaissance era buildings to collapse, including a university dormitory in which several students were still believe trapped, including possibly one Israeli university student who may be trapped in a collapsed school dormitory.

Four Israelis, said to be in the area at the time of the quake, were still unaccounted for at the time of this writing. Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman immediately offered his Italian counterpart emergency aid, including the dispatching of the rescue team and medical workers, if required. Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy’s Civil Protection Department called the tragedy in his country “the worst event since the start of the Millennium”.

Israel’s famed rescue team was formed following the bombing of a border police headquarters in Lebanon during the 1982 war in which more than 50 border policemen lost their lives when a suicide car bomber blew up the building they were housed in. Since then, the unit has been involved in rescue operations in places like Nairobi Kenya, following the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in 1998; and following the massive earthquake in Turkey in August 1999, when a team which included special search dogs and a portable field hospital were airlifted to Turkey and immediately began operating at the site of the worst damage.

Israel has often offered to dispatch this team to some unusual places, including the southern Iranian city of Bam, where thousands of people were killed in an earthquake in 2003.Their services were refused, however, by a government seemingly unwilling to let Israelis come and help save lives.

Although earthquakes are not a common occurrence in Italy, they have happened in the past and have caused massive damage to historical cities such as Rome. L’Aquila is located about 110 km northeast of Rome in the mountainous Abruzzo region which has two of Italy’s highest mountains not located in the Italian Alps. Famed for its medieval buildings, the city has a population of 70,000 and is the regional capital of the Abruzzo region.

What happened in Italy last night

What happened in Italy last night

We didn’t expect what you see in this picture. This is the square of the Italian Parliament in Rome, Piazza Montecitorio: You can see the Palace on top of the square, and in front a lot of Israeli flags. That was last night from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. What you cannot see here, is the extraordinary number of members of Parliament, about 100 from all political sides, that took the stage during this time: for about three hours we were speaking about the role of Israel, its right to self defense, its moral height, its fight on behalf of us all, of our civilization and values, against the wild hate of the Islamic jihad represented by Hamas.

It seems to me that for the first time in the too long history of the Arab/Israeli conflict, apart from a minority of crazy leftists and fascists that took the street with anti-Semitic slogans, we have achieved a huge consensus on one critical point: this is not a local conflict, there is nothing in it that reminds us of a peace theme that has characterized the Palestinian issue. This is an attack against the western world, and Iran is behind it.

The change of attitude is great: the terrorist and religious nature of Hamas and the democratic, civilized nature of Israel are seen face to face for what they really are at least by the European elite at large, dead and wounded notwithstanding, and there rises an identification with Israel against a regime that uses human shields and promises slaughter of Jews in its charter.

What happens today, at least in Italy, is the defeat and fall of the leftist ideologies: ideology that has allowed justification of all the most violent crimes and most disgusting verbal attacks. If Arafat launched the terrorist Intifada, if he promoted the martyrdom of children in public speeches, the ideologists were ready to justify him with the issues of occupation, the Palestinian misery and loss of any hope. Not so with Hamas.

History, in Italy, has brought to a profound crisis the ideology of revolution and the justification of any cruel attack against a so-called unjust imperialist order. That time is over, nobody will see Hamas as the resolution of the problem and not even as the problem itself. I think that the word “peace” has lost that healing meaning that it once had. The new non-ideological point of view sees that there is no peace when one of the contenders doesn’t want it, and that even if the world in the short run asks for a truce, in the long run it hopes for the defeat of Hamas.

Last night, many people, Ministers and Members of Parliament, composed a very new, interesting mix of opinions. I think that when you are not overwhelmed by exotic thirdworldism, the images of children educated as hate machines, the speeches of jihad leaders, from Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah, to Haniyeh, that deny the holocaust and promise death to Jewish and Christians alike, you are left only with disgust. Westerners, thank God, can still be disgusted by uncivilized levels of political speech.

But most of all, in the Parliament square, many of the Parliament Members said: “I love Israel”.

You can’t imagine how many.

Fiamma Nirenstein

Fiamma Nirenstein, a journalist and some-time resident of Jerusalem, is a new Member of the Italian Parliament who is outspoken on Israel’s behalf. She writes below that there is increasing understanding of what Israel is facing in its current war against Hamas.

Benjamin Netanyahu to become Italy’s Finance Minister

This week at a legal society dinner Benjamin Netanyahu (AKA. Bibi) told the audience that he was offered the position of Finance Minister in Italy by a prominent Italian Businessman, but alas politely refused. Maariv followed up on the story and found out that it happened a little differently. Bibi and Israel’s ambassador to Italy were walking out of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and ran into an Italian businessman walking in. The man was introduced to Bibi by the ambassador and spoke to him for 3 minutes.

When asked about Bibi’s claim and job offer, he reportedly said that during that brief introduction he mentioned that Italy needs to get its financial affairs in order and that some of the steps taken in Israel should be adopted. Needless to say he was amazed by Bibi’s claim and explained that he was in no position to offer the job, even if he was so inclined.

We’ll miss you Bibi..

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