Carmel Firefighters 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday evening carried out telephone conversations with leaders from Norway, Finland, Belgium, Holland and Germany in an attempt to secure additional firefighting planes.
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A firefighting plane landed in Israel from Russia to help extinguish fires raging in the north of the country.
Friday, Netanyahu thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan
for sending airplanes to help battle the Carmel brush-fire which had
already claimed more than 40 lives.
appreciate Turkey's help, we will find a way to express our
appreciation." The prime minister's comments came during a visit to the
Carmel fire injured at Rambam hospital in Haifa.
He later added that he believed Turkey's granting of aid to Israel "will serve as an opening to improve relations between Israel and Turkey."
Netanyahu also spoke with Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin, and thanked him and his country for their assistance in the effort to control the deadly forest fire.
The prime minister also
praised Israeli rescue workers, the IDF, the Israel Prisons Service, and
hospitals around the country.
Earlier on Friday, Netyanyahu thanked his other
for planes, firefighters, supplies and fire
retardant chemicals sent to assist efforts to control the huge forest fire.
In a press conference held after an emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu
mentioned Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who he called a
“real friend,” as well as Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias,
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko
The international aid effort is being coordinated by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the
Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu said, adding that the option of bringing in
more supplies from Canada and the US was being considered. He said that
the cabinet had a national plan which would be implemented in the coming
Before the cabinet meeting, Lieberman told Israel Radio that the country
was dealing with a disaster like we have never known before." He
charged that though a shortage of fire-fighting planes was common
knowledge, "nothing here ever happens until disaster strikes."
The foreign minister also referred to international aid which was being
flown in to help Israeli efforts controlling the fire. Four Greek
aircraft, four from France, three from Britain, two from Spain, two from
Russia, two from Turkey, two from Cyprus, two from Bulgaria, one from
Croatia and one from Azerbaijan were expected to arrive by noon,
He said that the Germans had "made the initiative" to request the
fire-fighting planes from Turkey, and that El Al was organizing for the
transfer of a special fire-fighting liquid from France.
Speaking before the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Eli Yishai
called for the establishment of a committee to probe the handling of the
fire. "It is a tragedy, and it's crucial that we look into all
surrounding factors," Yishai said.
Eight foreign planes, three helicopters, three firetrucks, and over 150
foreign firefighters have arrived in Israel so far. More are expected