Israel cares more for the Iranian people than its own government does, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday in a video message he issued from Jerusalem.In the short message he repeated an offer that was initially made on Tuesday night to provide relief and technical assistance to regions in Iran and Iraq impacted by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Sunday evening.The most severe such quake in a decade, it left at least 445 people dead and injured more than 7,000.
Iran has rejected Israel’s offer of assistance.“My heart sank when I saw pictures from this great earthquake on the Irani/Iraqi border,” Netanyahu said.“I saw mothers and fathers searching for their children, children buried under the rubble from this horrible earthquake. As a father, as an Israeli, as a Jew I wanted to help,” he continued.“That is why yesterday I instructed that Israel offer medical aid via the Red Cross to victims of this disaster. Israel has no quarrel with the people of Iran. We never have. Our only quarrel is with the cruel Iranian regime, a regime that holds its people hostage, a regime that threatens our people with annihilation,” the premier clarified.The International Committee of the Red Cross said that it received Israel’s offer of assistance, but that the countries impacted by the quake had not requested assistance.It added that the Iranian Red Crescent was heading the relief effort.In his video, Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s track record in providing disaster relief. “In past years we have sent humanitarian aid around the world, from Haiti, the Philippines, Mexico [to] many other places where disaster struck. Closer to home we treated many thousands of Syrians, Syrian civilians injured in the terrible war just beyond our border,” he said.“We do it all this for one reason, we do it because it is the right thing to do. Too many times in my people’s history, the world failed to act when it could, the world failed to do the right thing. So we have a special sensitivity to help those in need. Today Israeli technology and medicine is saving lives around the world,” Netanyahu added.“We will continue to offer sympathy and support to victims, no matter where they are from, even if their regime and their governments do not care for them as much as they care to hate us. We care. This is is Israel, compassionate, caring, kind,” the prime minister stressed.Reuters contributed to this report.
Why did Israel offer medical aid to victims of the earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border? (YouTube/IsraeliPM)