By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — June 26, 2021 … The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs are sending a rescue and humanitarian aid team to Florida.
The Israel Defense Forces, which has extensive domestic and international experience with search and rescue efforts, is sending a delegation headed by the Commander of the National Rescue Unit in the IDF Home Front Command, Col. (res.) Golan Vach, and will include a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guy Giladi, the former Deputy Consul General in Miami.
In addition, the delegation consists of approximately 10 Israel Defense reserve officers from the Home Front Command, all top experts in engineering and social care efforts.
On Saturday evening a joint IDF and Ministry of Foreign Affairs aid delegation departed to assist at the destruction site in Miami, Florida, after the collapse of a residential building.
The delegation’s mission is to assist in the life-saving efforts by mapping out the destruction site, assisting the Jewish community in identifying victims and survivors, and supporting the local rescue forces generally. Preparations for the delegation were led by the Head of the Home Front Command, Brig. Gen. Itzik Bar.
The IDF and MFA delegation will be received by the staff of the Israeli Consulate General in Miami and the Consul General, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, who have maintained a regular presence at the site since the tragic collapse and have provided assistance with clothing, medicine, food, emergency lighting and more. The consulate will connect the staff with the Miami District Emergency Services and the State of Florida.
Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the move was approved in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.
“As with any national mission, the IDF and the defense establishment are ready to respond, act and assist. Every effort will be made to save lives, support the Jewish community and our friend the United States,” Gantz said.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the sending of the delegation demonstrated the depth of friendship between the two nations.
“The State of Israel has no better friend than the United States, and the United States has no better friend than Israel. In such difficult moments, we stand with our American friends and the Jewish community in Florida,” Lapid said.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis this evening to express his condolences, and said Israel would assist in any way needed.
“The United States is our greatest friend, and we stand by your side during this difficult time. We all pray for the safety of the wounded. I instructed all authorities in the Israeli government to assist in any way that may be required,” Bennett told DeSantis.