A ceremony of gratitude was held for the firemen who participated in Operation ‘Hot Fire’, referring to the 1023 fires that plagued Israel during last week’s soaring temperatures and ‘sharav’ heatwave conditions.
A ceremony expressing Israel’s gratitude to firemen who responded to the call for assistance last week, when Israel was battling 1023 fires around the country, was held on Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the Foreign Ministry and National Security Council called on neighboring nations to assist by sending firefighting planes to battle the blazes. Planes were sent from Egypt, Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Croatia. A total of ten additional firefighting planes were sent to assist along with 72 firefighting teams from those countries.
The ceremony was held in the Tel Nof Air Force base and the participants received certificates of appreciation from the State of Israel.
Participants in the ceremony included the Director-General of the Minister of Public Security, Eliezer Rosenbaum, senior fire department commander Shimon Ben-Ner, Deputy Fire Commissioner Nir Rosenthal, and Tel Nof Commander Brig-General Peleg Neago.
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated, “First of all, I would like to praise the firefighters, police personnel, pilots and all of the security forces who worked over the past two days to extinguish the fires and save lives. I heard that it was said that the aerial assistance I brought in from other countries was ‘unnecessary.’ I reject this outright – it was not unnecessary. When we are talking about saving lives it is better to have too much than too little, and this is what we did.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the leaders of the many countries that sent us aerial assistance. It was important and also attests to cooperation with Israel and to Israel’s standing. However, I have instructed that an additional increase be prepared for our aerial firefighting squadron so that it will be able to operate also at night, if possible. This is difficult but we want to achieve this capability as well.
“I have asked to be personally updated on the rebuilding process. You saw the homes, the people. It is heart-rending to see people whose homes were completely burnt. We will help however we can to rebuild the places that were hit.”
Minister of Public Security Erdan stated, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the countries and delegations that were mobilized immediately and helped fight the fire. Friendship is examined in times of crisis, and you and your countries have proven true friendship and human life is above any other consideration and you immediately came to help save lives and for this I am grateful and grateful to all the citizens of Israel”.
Israel Fire Service & Rescue officials have announced that some of the fires were the result of arson and the probe continues towards determining if they were the result of acts of terror.
In the accompanying video, one sees a Sunday morning fire in Kibbutz Alumim, the result of an incendiary balloon released from Gaza into southern Israel. B’chasdei Hashem, they blaze was brought under control with injury.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)