The government decided Sunday morning to send Israeli police officers to Haiti to take part in an international police force. 14 Israelis will join counterparts from Italy and Serbia in strengthening the local United Nations mission.
The international team will work to enforce law and order in Haiti, which was hit by a major earthquake in January that killed an estimated 100,000-200,000 people and left as many as one million homeless.
The Israeli delegation will cost an estimated 2 million shekels for six months, beyond what is funded by the UN.
"This is a Jewish, humanitarian action that serves as a continuation to [our] fast response to the earthquake in Haiti,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Israel sent a team of military and medical personnel to Haiti shortly after the earthquake to assess the needs on the ground, and later sent an IDF field hospital whose staff performed almost 300 life-saving operations.
The religious emergency rescue and response group ZAKA sent a group to Haiti after the earthquake as well. The ZAKA team worked with members of the Jewish emergency rescue team of Mexico to rescue eight people who had been trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings for more than three days.
In late January Israel sent 100 police officers to Haiti at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.