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Local Jews Aid IDF in Haiti

Jewish residents of the island prove invaluable to relief operations

Marc Tracy
January 20, 2010

The Israel Defense Force’s heroic efforts in Haiti have been (justly) well-documented. A less-known part of the story is that of two Jews, who have made their homes in Haiti for years, who have made so much of these heroics possible.

Reuven Shalom Bigio, the son of a prominent Syrian Jewish businessman, is an honorary Israeli consul to Haiti (his company does several-hundred-million dollars’ worth of business there annually). That soccer field on which the IDF established their already-legendary field hospital? That’s Bigio’s. Daniel Kedar, who moved to Haiti two decades ago for business reasons and is now married to a former tourism minister, has served as the IDF’s unofficial translator and general knowledgeable guide. He reports that he is getting about three hours of sleep each night. Truly, take a minute and read the whole article.

Meanwhile, the IDF scrambled this morning to stabilize its patients following the 6.1-level aftershock that rippled through Port-au-Prince.

Please consider giving to the American Jewish World Service’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, here. You can also text “Haiti” to 90999 to automatically donate $10 to the American Red Cross’s relief efforts.

Finally, you can donate these really cool “LifeStraws”—which uses technology developed by a Weizmann Institute graduate to quickly make water potable—by going here.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.