At least one Israeli was killed and the fate of dozens of others is not yet known in the New Zealand earthquake that has claimed more than 65 lives. The Foreign Ministry has not released the name of the Israeli victim, but be is believed to be a backpacker.
23-year-old Ofer Mizrachi of Kibbutz Maagal is feared dead. He was traveling with friends when the quake hit. While his friends managed to escape the car to safety, Mizrachi was trapped as a building fell on the vehicle.
A group of Zaka workers is on their way from Israel to New Zealand.
Approximately 120 Israelis are believed to be living or touring in the city of Christchurch, which suffered a mid-day earthquake that tumbled buildings and rolled huge boulders down on the city of 400,000. The roof of the Chabad House in the area, built just 5 years ago to help tourists, has collapsed, but no one was injured. Rabbi Shmuel Freedman and his family ran out of the building as it collapsed, and were saved.
Unlike an earthquake that struck last September and claimed no casualties, Tuesday’s quake and nearly two dozens aftershocks caught tens of thousands of people during the lunch hour, when malls and streets were filled. It registered 6.3 on the Richter scale.
Rescuers are attempting to rescue approximately 100 people alive but buried amid the rubble after the earthquake. Israel's Foreign Ministry is preparing a plan to send medical aid and rescue teams to New Zealand. Prime MInister Netanyahu spoke personally to New Zealand''s Prime Minister John Kay and offered any help that can be provided.