Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Just Some Thoughts

There are a couple of blogs that I read just about every day. One of those is Treppenwitz. I like the way that David (the blogger at Treppenwitz) writes and how he shares with readers a slice of Israeli life. It's cool. It's intelligent and refreshing.

Recently he posted an entry about his (thus far) positive experience with the socialized medical system here in Israel. If you read the posting and the comments, you'll see that I made some remarks about not yet being able to receive these health benefits because I am not yet a "resident" (for official purposes -- on my way though). I have to buy private insurance that isn't so great. You'll see that he responds that he feels that countries don't have an obligation to provide health benefits to non-citizens or non-residents. I don't disagree.

My beef is that there is not a really good insurance plan for those of us that aren't yet residents to BUY! I can't even BUY coverage for pre-existing conditions. So, non-residents get stuck.

Today he posted about France not coming to the aid of a hostage in Iraq that had served for 21 years with the French Foreign Legion. According to the posting, the reason the French officials gave for not helping to rescue the hostage was because the hostage was not a French citizen. Of course, being a rational person, David has a problem with this answer. How could they not help after all the service this guy has given to France? I don't disagree.

It seems to me though that the reason France wouldn't help the hostage is the same reason David gave for states not having to provide health benefits - not a citizen. I don't see much difference between being held hostage by terrorists and being held hostage by cancer. Both situations are out of the control of the individual - nobody asked for it. Both situations require some outside help. I'm not judging David's response to the France situation. I am just noting that countries have to create "cut offs" otherwise there's not difference between us and them - citizens and non-citizens. Why should one country be demonized for denying military aid to a non-citizen (not matter what the person's connection to the country is) while another country denies medical care to residents?

Maybe there shouldn't be "cut-offs" - maybe we should all take care of each other as if we were brothers. What makes one man French and another Israeli or American? Why are the French blamed for not helping the hostage and not some other country? When we see someone that needs help, why do we pass them by and not take responsibility - because they're not a citizen? because they're not in our family?



At 6/06/2005 6:28 PM, Blogger treppenwitz said...

I wasn't taking France to task for not attempting to rescue the hostage. I was peeved that they felt compelled to comment on the mattter. My point was more to the effect of, 'Fine, you feel no obligation to help... that's a mtter of conscience... but why make a statement?

Thank you for the nice words though.


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