Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telephoned Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Ben-Ari, commander of the IDF Search and Rescue Unit, who will lead the Israeli team that is due to leave for Haiti on Thursday, and wished him success in the mission, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
Netanyahu asked Ben-Ari to convey the solidarity and concern felt by every Israeli towards the disaster that struck the Haitian people. "You are going on a humanitarian mission on behalf of all of Israel," he said, "in accordance with the best Jewish tradition of aiding one's fellow men."
The prime minister added that "Our decision to immediately dispatch a large Israeli team of doctors, nurses, medics, search and rescue personnel, medicines and equipment for a field hospital and operating room to Haiti expresses the deep values that have characterized the Jewish People and the State of Israel all throughout our history. Given Israel's security needs, we have accumulated much search and rescue experience over the years. We have applied this experience previously in disaster scenes throughout the world - in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Turkey and elsewhere. I hope and wish that the Israeli mission will succeed, this time as well, in saving as many lives - children, parents and families - in Haiti as possible."
Netanyahu instructed PMO Director-General Eyal Gabai to see to it that the Israeli team receives all of the budgetary resources it needs for the search and rescue operation in Haiti.