Jonathan Edelstein, aka the Head Heeb, writes:
"The next task in the Middle East is to rebuild what has been destroyed and to heal what can't be rebuilt: to restore the houses and the roads, to comfort and provide for the bereaved families. Rebuilding northern Israel is an urgent priority, reconstructing southern Lebanon much more so. Lebanon sustained more damage than Israel - environmental as well as structural - and it has fewer resources to rebuild. Lebanon, has also been under a blockade for the past month and is running short on humanitarian supplies in addition to its longer-term needs.
Some, Shimon Peres included, have proposed a massive international effort to rebuild Lebanon - a Marshall Plan of sorts. It's important, for both political and moral reasons, that this happen and that Israel take part in it. Such a program would be both a way to ensure that the south is rebuilt by someone other than Hizbullah, and a chance to make good on the promise that Israel is not at war with the Lebanese people. But aid programs, especially major ones, always take time to plan and implement, and there's a great deal that can't wait for the international community to get its act together.
For this reason, I will match up to US $1250 in reader donations for reconstruction of southern Lebanon and up to US $750 to rebuild northern Israel. I strongly encourage Israeli and Jewish readers to donate to Lebanese charities and vice versa, but that isn't mandatory; I will match all donations to non-extremist-controlled charities up to the stated sum."
I think this is a really good idea, so I have decided to do something similar. I will match the first $1000 (good Lord, did I really just type that?) that people give to non-extremist charities working to rebuild Lebanon. Since my ability to research charities is limited, I reserve the right to substitute one of the charities I list below for yours, in case of doubt. But I will match the money.
About the fact that I'm specifying Lebanon and not Israel: I wavered about this. I have already given money to charities for use in Israel, and urge everyone to do likewise. Here's a web site with links to charities working in both Israel and Lebanon; in addition, you could give to Magen David Adom (the Red Star of David), the Israel Emergency Campaign of the United Jewish Communities, or the B'nai B'rith Israel Emergency Fund.
However, I decided to match funds going to Lebanon for the following reasons. First, Lebanon suffered a lot more damage, and since it is a poorer country, it has fewer resources to deal with it. Second, I did some research before writing this post, and there are a bunch of stories about charitable giving for Lebanon being slow, in part because of political reasons. Third, I think it really matters, politically, that Americans help out in Lebanon. Our support for Israel is not in doubt, but after the events of the last month, our support for Lebanon definitely is. Also, we're not Hezbollah.
But for me, the most important reason is the extent of the need, and the apparent lack of resources with which to meet it.
So: a thousand dollars it is. If you want to post donations, fine; if not, just email me privately. I'll update this page if we seem to be getting near my limit.
Here are some charities working in Lebanon:
Doctors Without Borders [Note: they don't, as far as I can see, let you designate funds for Lebanon, so possibly another charity would be better.]
There's also the page I linked earlier, which lists several other charities.
I have no idea what will happen with this post, but it seemed worth trying. Thanks.
PS: Any other bloggers want to do this?
*** UPDATE: Within twelve hours of putting this post up -- twelve hours which included the middle of the night, US time -- I'm within several hundred dollars of the thousand dollars I pledged. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far. You all are really wonderful.