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Miracle Nation

 Miracle Nation

by Israela Meyerstein
270 pages. Mazo publishers, 2018
Soft Cover: ISBN 978-1-946124-46-3; $18.95
Hard Cover: ISBN 978-1-946-124-48-7; $29.95
Available from Ingram, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Reviewed by Sidney Cohen

Despite everything! Despite the Romans murdering over one million of our people and exiling our ancestors; despite two thousand years of ongoing pain, torture and destruction culminating in the Germans killing more than six million - despite all of this we have returned, in joy, to our land.

We have so much to celebrate and in Israela Meyerstein's collection, "Miracle Nation - A Tribute to Rebirth in the Land of our Ancestors". There are "seventy stories about the spirit of Israel" by a variety of authors. They are all captivating, moving and inspirational. Starting with the pain of the Holocaust, the collection moves on to Israel's birth and the ingathering of the exiles, and then reaches today and what we have been doing both within and without our borders.

It is so difficult to choose which are the best of the stories but there are some which stand out. I found. for example, Major-General Yair Golan's project "A Good Neighbor Policy to Save Lives" a remarkable advertisement for us as a people and our values. Golan tells us that when he was commanding the IDF'S Northern Command in 2013, he could see the carnage and destruction just across the border in Syria - indescribable human suffering. He decided to erect a field hospital to care for the wounded, with the most difficult cases then being transferred to Israeli hospitals. The reader can only wonder which other people would have done this for their avowed enemies?

One story is about Leket which was set up by Joseph Gitler, a New York lawyer who made aliyah in 2002. Gitler saw the increasing poverty in Israeli society and wanted to do something to help. Lack of food was a major problem and yet the shops were full of food. Gitler set up Leket to supply and distribute surplus food from shops and restaurants to the poor and needy and now has more than a hundred employees and many volunteers. It is a wonderful example of compassion and care in today's Israel.

One of the most compassionate and remarkable organizations that has been created in Israel is Yad Sarah. Yad Sarah lends equipment and "cares for society's most vulnerable, the elderly, Holocaust survivors, new-borns, the injured, disabled, children with special needs, recent immigrants, army veterans and terror victims". It is an organization which has more than a hundred branches in Israel and states that it transforms the lives of more than four hundred thousand people annually with more than six thousand volunteers. There are many examples of all the good that Yad Sarah has done and continues to do.

A fine example of what we as a people have done and continue to do is related by Dr Bernie Green who tells of the refugee medical clinic, which is located in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. It is staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses who treat the very poor, mostly African residents of South Tel Aviv.

Finally, it is Israel's incredible contribution to the developing world through its high-tec methods and inventions that can help provide solar power, water and agricultural techniques to remote African villages and their deprived populations.

Yes, we are a remarkable people and we are fulfilling the prophecy of becoming a "Light Unto the Nations".

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