'When nature is cruel, it is time for humanitarian action'

PM Netanyahu welcomes IDF delegation home from Mexico, praises them for showing the world 'the true face of Israel.'

Tags: IDF Mexico
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday welcomed home from Mexico the IDF's search and rescue delegation.

Attending the ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport were IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi, Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Pablo Macedo Riba and GOC Home Front Command Major General Tamir Yadai.

The Prime Minister had instructed that the State of Israel dispatch on the eve of the Rosh Hashana holiday an aid mission composed of approximately 70 soldiers and officers from Home Front Command and the Air Force.

The delegation included expert engineers who provided assistance to people in areas affected by the earthquake. The search and rescue personnel dedicated their efforts to rescuing those buried among the ruins. The Israeli mission – led by Reserve Colonel David Mizrachi – was the largest, arrived first and left last.

"We are all proud of you. We all salute you," Netanyahu said. "I just told the Deputy Chief of Staff that you are the long arm of Israel, the long humanitarian arm reaching around the world, across thousands of kilometers. You show the true face of the State of Israel."

"We know that when nature is cruel, it is time for humanitarian action. When there are natural disasters, nations, at least the enlightened nations, work together. In this respect, the State of Israel and the IDF have met with impressive success time and again.

"You spent last week, including Rosh Hashanah, in Mexico City, far away from your families and from our country. The earth shook there and you extended a steady and sure hand to the citizens of Mexico. I must tell you that reports of what you did for them, first of all, have reverberated and we saw the responses of people in Mexico and beyond.

"We see the difference between Israel, an enlightened democracy, a state with values and morality which seeks life and is full of life...and those fanatical regimes whose goal is to sow ruin and destruction everywhere. We aspire to be a light unto the nations, exactly this, and they bring darkness to humanity. We champion progress and social welfare – and they disseminate violence and death."

Netanyahu also spoke of his own visit to Mexico earlier in September.

"When my visit to Mexico – which was very successful – was over...I was about to board the plane back to Israel, and on the ramp up to the plane I received a telephone call from the Mexican Foreign Minister," Netanyahu said. "He told me that another earthquake had struck and that they were requesting that we send the same mission, the same ability and the same people to Mexico as quickly as possible. I told him that they were already on the way."

"You were already en route, you had already organized. You were the first to arrive and the last to leave and this shows the unique nature of the State of Israel. We are not a major power, but we are a rising global power including in the ability to extend assistance to various countries.

"True friendship is measured in moments of crisis and this is exactly what we did when this disaster, this natural disaster, struck Mexico. And indeed, we have a friendship in times of routine but we also have a friendship in time of emergency and it is perhaps the most important. Who expressed this and gave it content? The soldiers and officers, the members of the mission.

"We are pleased to welcome you back home, in Israel. Very soon you will return to your important work in the IDF. I know and you know that if you are again called on a humanitarian mission around the world – you will not hesitate. And we, as part of our humane diplomatic policy, we will also not hesitate. We rely on you and I think that today the entire world is learning to rely on you.

"On behalf of all citizens of Israel, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts. Now, to your families. Be with them, spend Yom Kippur with them, and gather your strength for the future. A happy New Year to all of you. May you be written and inscribed for good. Thank you on behalf of all Israelis. Thank you very much."