On Day 10 of the Israeli mission in Haiti, Danny Biran paused during a phone conversation as a helicopter hovered above him.
“He’s looking for a place to land,” said Biran, an official of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has been in Haiti since 36 hours after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
A PR expert on the Goldstone report, Haiti and what Israel should learn about controlling its message.
Special To The Jewish Week
In October of 1982, seven people in Chicago died under what at first seemed mysterious circumstances but quickly became linked to cyanide-laced Tylenol that had been placed on drugstore shelves. At the time Tylenol had a whopping 37 percent share of the painkiller market.
I mention it now, in the context of public relations for Israel, because the Tylenol Crisis, as it is called in the industry, is universally considered a benchmark case to study in terms of response to the kind of negative public relations that could have forced the company to fold.
In a world of rather frequent natural disasters, the earthquake in Haiti and its eerie, hellish aftermath retains the ability to shock, reminding us of the fragility of life and even civilization itself. And yet, if we will call earthquakes “acts of God,” there is some solace in seeing how so many of us have responded in a way that ironically can only be called the image of God and all that’s holy.
Jewish community here, in outpouring
of care, pitches in after quake.
At a Jewish Y on Long Island, Jewish employees take up a collection for the families in Haiti of two maintenance men. In Brooklyn, members of the haredi Orthodox community hold a historic meeting with representatives of the borough’s Haitian-Americans. In southern Florida, a former New Yorker travels to Haiti on short notice to help the relatives of his Haitian-born employees.
As IDF rescuers and doctors save lives,
rare praise for a disproportionate response.
Assistant Managing Editor
Israel’s rapid response to the disaster in Haiti and the success of its experienced emergency team in saving many lives has drawn extensive media coverage, and has become a major source of pride in the Jewish community.
The Israel Defense Forces sent 220 personnel to the Caribbean island on Jan. 15, three days after a 7.0-scale earthquake devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The team included 40 doctors, 20 nurses and paramedics, search-and-rescue teams with trained dogs and other specialists.
It’s no secret that great disasters bring out the best and the worst in people – the selfless rescuers who put their own lives on the line to save people they don’t know on one hand, the looters who use catastrophe as an opportunity for larceny, petty and otherwise, on the other.
In the bad old days of the second intifada, when it seemed like every other day provided another incidence of a bomb blowing up somewhere in Israel with predictably horrific results, I remember hearing for the first time the concept that Israelis called a mega-pigu’a.
A pigu’a is the term they use for a terrorist attack. A mega-pigu’a