A 60-strong delegation from the IDF’s Home Front Command, together with two foreign ministry representatives, left for Mexico City on Wednesday afternoon shortly before the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) to provide emergency aid after an earthquake hit the country, killing at least 200 people.
They were met with applause by Mexican civilians as they walked through Mexico City.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) September 23, 2017
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the IDF to send the delegation after receiving a request for aid from Mexican authorities in the wake of the 7.1 quake that caused several building in Mexico City to collapse on Tuesday night.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered that an aid operation be organized to leave to Mexico as soon as possible,” his office said.
Gali Cohen, a representative of the Strategic Cooperation Division of the National Emergency Authority and Home Front Command told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) the delegation would be comprised mainly of “engineers and other professionals that can provide assistance.” The delegation will stay in Mexico for a week and will come back on September 29, ahead of Yom Kippur.
Though the IDF soldiers were in Mexico to assist in aid and rescue missions, they made sure to perform the special commandments, or mitzvot, that are incumbent upon Jews during Rosh Hashana, including blowing the shofar.
The delegation is headed by Col. Dudi Mizrahi, the head of the army’s search and rescue unit.
Israeli diplomats in Mexico were in touch with local officials to find out what exactly Mexico needed.
Netanyahu made his first trip as prime minister to Mexico last week meeting with President Pena Nieto and offering reconstruction aid following an earthquake that killed 96 people in southern Mexico earlier this month. Wednesday morning before taking off to Israel following a 10-day trip to Latin America and New York, Netanyahu said Israel’s “heart” was with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the rest of the country.