Israel offered humanitarian aid to Iran in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the border region with Iraq earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told North American Jewish leaders overnight Tuesday. The offer was immediately turned down.
“I am proud to announce tonight that a few hours ago I directed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster,” Netanyahu said via videolink to the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual General Assembly in Los Angeles.
“I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction,” Netanyahu said. “But our humanity is greater than their hatred. Israel continues to be a light unto the nations and this is what I am proud of. And all of you can be proud of Israel’s morals, and Israel’s might.”
Iran has not commented on the offer, but Ynet quoted sources in the Prime Minister’s Office as saying that the offer was part of a strategy to communicate “directly with the Iranian people and underline the difference between the people and the country’s regime.”
“Israel contacted the Red Cross with the intention of providing civilian humanitarian assistance but was immediately turned away, which reveals the true face of the radical regime in Iran,” the source said.
At least 540 people were killed and close to 8,000 injured when the quake hit Sunday.