Workers clean the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston on Sunday as part of restoration efforts by Jewish volunteers after Hurricane Harvey.
(photo credit: ZAKA)
Israel extended offers of aid Sunday to the US and Mexico following a string of devastating natural disasters.
The government unanimously approved at the weekly cabinet meeting a proposal put forward by Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett for a $1 million aid package to help rebuild Jewish institutions in Houston hit badly by Hurricane Harvey.
“This is a time for the Jewish state to help our Diaspora brothers at their time of need,” Bennett said. “They helped us when we needed it, it is our turn to help them.”
Bennett said the funds, which will assist in the rebuilding of schools, synagogues and the local JCC that were damaged by the hurricane, are a “clear message about mutual responsibility.”
According to statement put out by Bennett, many of the schools and synagogues serving the 60,000-strong Jewish community cannot be used, and the community’s senior citizens home and JCC have suffered extensive water damage.
Regarding Mexico, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was set to leave for Latin America Sunday evening, told the cabinet that when he meets Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, he will offer Israel’s assistance to areas hit by the devastating earthquake there last Thursday.
Netanyahu said these are “not easy days for Mexico,” and he sent his condolences to the victims.
At least 65 were killed and hundreds more injured in the earthquake, which badly hit the states of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Netanyahu characterized his trip to Argentina, Colombia, Mexico – and from there to New York where he will address the UN General Assembly – as “historic,” inasmuch as it will be the first ever visit by a serving Israeli prime minister to South or Central America.
“This visit will strengthen our economic, security and technological ties with Latin America, and will constitute the continued strengthening of Israel’s position in the world, something we are leading in a successful and systematic manner,” he said.