The IDF Rescue Team That Recovered Most of the Dead in the Surfside Disaster

Of the 97 individuals whose remains have been located and identified amid the ruins of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, 81 were found by the Israeli military’s National Rescue Unit—which spent fifteen days digging through the rubble. Wendy Rhodes spoke with the unit’s commander, Lieutenant Colonol Golan Vach:

Vach related how, within hours of receiving approval from the U.S. to join the rescue efforts, his team boarded a commercial flight to Miami. On the plane were fifteen of his delegation’s “best people,” Vach said. They arrived at 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, the morning of the fourth day of rescue efforts. And while they were not scheduled to begin work until noon, he said, the team headed straight to the collapse site.

[Vach’s] team did not use dogs . . . but rather a formula that had been honed over almost 40 years. It was expertise developed from responder missions in wars and catastrophic events in Israel and around the world, including in Lebanon, Cyprus, Haiti, Japan, Mexico, Egypt, Honduras, and India. The team had even been on hand to assist during Hurricane Katrina when it flooded and devastated New Orleans in 2005.

So, like attempting to solve the most gruesome of puzzles, Vach’s team poured its sweeping knowledge into studying the pile of concrete, rebar, and assorted building materials along with victims’ consumer goods and personal possessions. . . .

His team also helped family members of the missing arrange travel from places such as Israel, Venezuela, and Colombia, . . . and the Israeli embassy in Washington helped them even further when they arrived in Miami.

Read more at Palm Beach Post

More about: Florida, IDF, Israeli technology, US-Israel relations

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus