Israel Salutes International Crews Who Helped Combat Blazes

Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 26 May, 2019

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 26 May, 2019

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) on Sunday held a special ceremony at Tel-Nof AFB saluting the teams from around the Middle East which arrived in Israel to help it fight the mass blazes that hit the country.

Firefighting aircraft and crews from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, arrived in Israel on Friday to provide assistance in fighting the wildfires which began raging in Israel on Thursday as a result of a heavy heat wave.

“Their response warms our heart. We take them in with much appreciation,” said IAF Brig. Gen. Peleg Niego, Commander of Tel-Nof AFB.

The Teams were awarded a certificate and a small token from the Ministry of Public Security.

“We express our gratitude to the countries extending assistance in combating forest fires as well as those who have expressed willingness to help. Thank you Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia and Italy for your friendship. A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon stated Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked “my friend Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for sending two helicopters to help in putting out the fires that have broken out across Israel.”

Netanyahu’s spokesperson for the Arab media Ofir Gendelman noted that “Israeli firefighters and an Egyptian helicopter were working together yesterday in order to put out a huge fire that broke out in southern Israel.  This is what peace is all about.”

“We came here in order to help our Israeli friends in extinguishing the fires”, said Joseph Diolas, a Cypriot pilot. “This was the second time we came to extinguish fires in Israel. Our coming here signifies cooperation and mutual assistance.”

International crews have come to help Israel in the past, while the Jewish State also periodically dispatches firefighting teams to countries combatting fires in the region.

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