The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has shaken the community of Parkland, the state of Florida, and the whole of the United States.
The senseless act of violence took so many lives and wounded many others. This horrific act has also been a stark reminder of our shared vulnerability and humanity.
It is in these difficult times, when friends rise to the moment to stand by one another. The community of Parkland, Floridians and Americans have come together for strength and healing. So have Israelis, who have risen to support our friends, the Americans, in their time of need.
Israelis have been heart broken, shaken by the terrible news and images from Parkland, and they quickly responded.
The State of Israel has brought specialists to Broward County from the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) to assist the Parkland community with handling the aftermath.
The Consulate General of Israel in Miami, Jewish Federation of Broward County and Behavioral Health Associates of Broward-Counseling Centers of Goodman Jewish Family Services, are working together to help.
In Jewish tradition, “tikkun olam,” means repairing the world. Through the ITC and our local partners, we are contributing with the healing process.
The ITC brings deep experience and insight, having responded to crises, tragedy and natural disasters worldwide, including the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, flooding in Houston, and earthquake in Mexico City, just to name a few.
Currently, ITC is conducting sessions to help the helpers, in Broward County, including teachers, counselors, clinicians, clergy, social organizations and first responders. They are sharing their unique knowledge to assist in the community’s recovery efforts both short-term and long-term.
Whether it is ITC or other Israeli organizations, Israel is ever-present coming to lend a helping hand.
Just to focus in our vicinity, Israeli government and non-government organizations set up an emergency center after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, aided communities in Puerto Rico ravaged by hurricane Maria with food and water, and sent professional clown therapists to uplift children throughout the Miami-Dade and Monroe counties after hurricane Irma. Israel tries to provide assistance with the multiple physical, emotional and operational needs required.
We remember and commend the heroic action of first responders, law enforcement, schoolteachers and staff, who bravely protected hundreds of lives.
We see how despite the horrible tragedy, the State of Florida, and the nation, come together to aid the Parkland community and all of those affected.
At this time, we take comfort in our common belief that all life is precious. Israel will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Broward community and will assist as much as needed.
Together, at this difficult time, we rise, stand strong and remain committed to our friendship and common humanity.
Lior Haiat is the consul general of Israel in Miami.