'The Israeli people are tough and determined'

American firefighter speaks about volunteering in southern Israel to help put out fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons.

Yoni Kempinski,

Firefighters from the United States volunteer in Israel
Firefighters from the United States volunteer in Israel
Photo: EVP

Aston Bright, a firefighter from Plantation, Florida, who volunteers in Israel, spoke about his experience.

“I came to Israel as part of the Emergency Volunteers Project in order to help fight the fires that have been caused by Hamas sending kites and balloons and starting arson fires throughout southern Israel,” said Bright.

The EVP, he explained, is an organization that sends health care professionals, community volunteers and firefighters from the United States to Israel in time of crisis.

“I think it is insane when people target and attack civilians, and the Israeli people are very tough and determined. We’re here to help augment the response to those fires by coming in and dealing with them,” said Bright.

He added that he was “quite impressed with the capabilities of the Israeli fire service. We have been working right alongside them, shoulder to shoulder, fighting these fires, and they’ve been very devastating. Thankfully there have been no loss of lives or homes, but it has been devastating to the beautiful Israeli lands that have been cultivated and blooming for decades. It’s very important that we protect that and that’s why we’re here.”

Bright described Israelis as “incredible” and added, “It has been amazing. They’re so professional. They have all the best equipment…it has been amazing. We have been very effective working together.”

“They are as professional and capable of a firefighting force as I’ve ever seen, and I’m in America where we feel we’re the best, and I would put these Israeli firefighters right there next us. They are that good,” he said.

Bright noted that he would take back with him to the United States the sense of community in Israel and expressed hope that he could bring that with him and share it with his friends who are also firefighters.

“We have to also give a very special thank you to the Jewish Federations of North America who sponsored this trip and have made it possible to bring all of us here and underwrite all of the expenses that go along with that. So it’s very important to support the Jewish Federations of North America because they make this entire thing possible.”




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