Ceremony held for Israel’s delegation to Mexico’s return home

(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO, PM Facebook page)

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Israel’s delegation to Mexico back home ahead of Yom Kippur, a small ceremony held for the delegation of 71 who acted as first responders following the Mexico’s devastating earthquake.

The mission was called “The Sound of the Shofar carries far” as it fell on the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the delegation team sounding the shofar marking the new year when they arrived in Mexico two weeks ago.

The IDF described the mission as “The IDF and the State of Israel will continue to assist in the aftermath of any disaster around the world that requires our experience and abilities… They will help surveying buildings- which structures can people go into, which structures need to be torn down.” The delegation of 71 soldiers included 25 are engineers, search and rescue teams and medical teams.

Israel previously sent much-needed aid to assist in Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Speaking to the delegation, Prime Minister Netanyahu started by stating, “We are all proud of you. We all salute you! I just told the Deputy Chief-of-Staff that you are the long arm of Israel, the long humanitarian arm that reaches around the world, across thousands of kilometers, and you show the true face of the State of Israel.”

On Israel as a first responder to global disasters he stated, “We know that when nature is cruel, the time has come 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.”

Netanyahu spoke of the delegation’s dispatch over the Jewish New Year holiday and Mexico’s reception of Israel’s assistance, stating “You spent last week, including Rosh Hashana, in Mexico City, far away from your families, 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.”

The prime minister spoke of Israel as a “light to the nations” emphasizing “We see the difference between Israel, an enlightened democracy, a state with values and morality that seeks life and is full of life, and the vast gulf between us and those fanatical regimes the goal of which 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 spoke of his recent diplomatic tour to Latin America, where he met with heads of state from five countries, making history for Israel-Latin America relations. He stated “On my visit to Mexico, an historic visit, as part of my visit to Latin America, I spoke with Mexican President Pena Nieto about the assistance that Israel sent in 1985, in wake of the previous earthquake. He recalled this with great appreciation and I told him that since then we have developed different capabilities, for the various needs that we have, and he listened with great interest. The visit – which was very successful – was over and I continued on to the UN and from there 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 and 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.”

Finishing his address, he spoke of the commitment and dependency the globe will always have in Israel to assist during disasters. He stated “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.”

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, September 30, 2017, and reposted with permission.