Tuesday, May 29, 2012
September 12, 2001, Israelinsider, Fear for fate of Israelis in New York, by Ellis Shuman,
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was flooded with phone calls yesterday from Israeli citizens trying to establish the whereabouts of relatives who live and work in New York City. The Israeli Consulate in New York, the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem set up emergency hotlines but were limited by a lack of information to report.
For many hours, Foreign Ministry officials were unable to get updates from the United States due to a collapse of phone networks and the excess demand for international lines. Many of the callers could not provide the ministry with the exact location of their relatives in New York. Dorit Shavit, who coordinated the ministry's emergency room, said that all she and her staff could do was to record the information provided by callers.
ynet reported this morning that an Israeli trapped under the rubble of the collapsed towers managed to call for help on his cellular phone. According to the report, the man contacted his wife, who is also located in New York. No additional information was available about his condition.
At least four other Israelis are reported missing, according to ynet. Two are employed in companies located inside the World Trade Center towers. Another Israeli, who reportedly lives in the lower Manhattan area nearby, was still missing Wednesday morning after leaving his home with his daughter, in the city on a visit.
Many Israelis worked in World Trade Center offices
According to media reports, many Israelis work in the high tech companies and trade agencies in the towers. Yediot Aharonot reported that some Israeli companies had local representatives at the World Trade Center, but Israeli Channel Two television discredited this claim.
A trailer running on CNN and Fox News listed an office for Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. in the buildings. This information was apparently outdated, as the company relocated to new offices in Norfolk, Virginia, one week ago. Zim Chairman Dr. Yoram Sebba said, "Despite our own miracle, we of course are very sad about the massive loss of life throughout the United States."
No Israelis have been located in any of the New York City hospitals admitting the injured from the bombings. Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor) is in New York City coordinating Israeli affairs in the disaster. Sneh, a former physician himself, said he is dealing with the growing number of requests for information and is also acting as a liaison with Israeli doctors in the various hospitals. ynet reports that Hebrew-speaking doctors circulated among the hospital patients yesterday in attempts to locate Israelis.
The Israeli Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom last night declared a nationwide emergency blood drive. Israel Radio called for O-type blood donors to come to first aid centers, which were opened at midnight for the special operation. The blood is to be airlifted to the United States together with an Israeli rescue unit today. According to media reports, some 600 blood units had already been collected by early this morning.
The IDF's disaster rescue unit attached to the Home Front Command was scheduled to leave for New York City today. Army Radio reported that 120 soldiers would assist local authorities in participating in the rescue operations. The unit is to depart in two planes that will be granted special permission to land in the New York area. According to Army Radio, the unit can begin its mission one hour after arriving at the disaster site.
Successful Israeli high tech figure among confirmed victims
One confirmed Israeli victim from yesterday's tragedy was Daniel Lewin, cofounder of Akamai Technologies. Lewin, 31, served as Akamai's chief technology officer and was responsible for the company's research and development strategy. He reportedly was a passenger on one of the planes that crashed yesterday into the World Trade Center towers.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Lewin was raised in Jerusalem. He served as officer in the Israel Defense Forces for more than four years. Lewin held a Bachelor of Arts and of Science, summa cum laude, from the Technion and a Master's degree from MIT. Previously, he worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa where he was a full-time research fellow and project leader.
Lewin founded Akamai in September 1998, along with Tom Leighton and a leading group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists and business professionals. The company provides businesses with high-performance delivery of streaming media, rich Web content and Internet applications through scalable, easily implemented services.
Lewin was frequently mentioned in the media as one of the richest Israelis in the world, due to his 15% holdings of Akamai shares.