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IDF search and rescue team returns from Turkey earthquake recovery effort

Team returns to a welcome ceremony, Israeli prime minister says: “You showed the entire world the true and beautiful face of the State of Israel”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the welcoming ceremony for the Israeli Rescue Mission 'Olive Branch,' Feb. 13, 2023 (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

At a ceremony Monday night welcoming home the Israeli search and rescue team from disaster-struck Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked them and said: “The entire people of Israel are proud of you.”

“You showed the entire world the true and beautiful face of the State of Israel: a small country with a huge soul, a country that rushes to help others around the world and in the harshest conditions, out of humanity and the highest morality. This is the true face of Israel,” Netanyahu told them. 

The team, which included members of the military, Magen David Adom emergency paramedics, and Fire and Rescue Service officials, saved the lives of 19 Turkish earthquake victims.

Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)

Israel Defense Forces issued a statement affirming the achievement: “This is an unprecedented number of rescues compared to previous IDF rescue missions.”

"You showed the beautiful face of Israel, of the security establishment and of the IDF,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. "All of you together reflected the various aspects of the mosaic of Israeli society, and all of you showed the face of the beautiful Israeli, who always rushes to extend assistance, in the spirit of the values that guide us as a people and a country.”

The team returned this week as efforts in Turkey are transitioning from search and rescue to humanitarian aid.

Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)

Israel also established a field hospital in Kahramanmaraş, which treated over 400 earthquake victims. The field hospital will continue operating until the end of the week.

Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)

On Sunday, an Israeli search and rescue team from United Hatzalah volunteer organization returned from Turkey early due to verified threat to their safety.

The IDF Home Front Command often sends teams around the world to help with natural disaster relief, including earthquakes, floods, fires or building collapses.

Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)
Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)
Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)
Israeli search and rescue team in Turkey (Photo: IDF)

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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