Russia, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt are among the nations that have so far sent firefighting planes to assist Israel in combating the large fires that have affected tens of thousands of people. They join Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and the US that have also responded.
Four planes from Greece and Cyprus landed in Israel Thursday night to help beat back the flames as Turkey and Russia said they were also sending aircraft to aid Israel.
The aid from Turkey, the first in years, came as ties between Jerusalem and Ankara have thawed in recent months.
At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Netanyahu he would send two massive aircraft to to help Israeli fire services douse some 200 brush fires all over the country, many of which are believed to have been started deliberately.
Also, the massive US-based supertanker, a converted Boeing 747 that can operate at night, is expected by midnight Friday, the Foreign Ministry said.
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) November 24, 2016
The Greek and Cypriot aircraft — which arrived with a 49-strong crew — comprise two Bombadiers and a Hercules from Greece and an air tractor from Cyprus. Spain and Azerbaijan were the latest Friday morning to commit to join the efforts.
Both of Israel’s Arab neighbors offered help and Israel accepted, the Prime Minister’s Office said Friday. Jordan will send fire trucks and Egypt two firefighting helicopters.
Israeli crews were even joined Thursday night by eight Palestinian fire trucks and 40 firefighters, who were taking part in the battle to contain the massive blaze in Haifa and at Sha’ar Hagai outside Jerusalem.
The show of solidarity from Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority was a welcome sign after many Arabic-speaking social media users in Israel and abroad have cheered on the fires, causing the Arabic-language hashtag label “Israel is burning” to reach the third-most trending tag on Twitter in several nearby Arab countries.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan touted the international aid as a sign of Israel’s close ties with its neighbors.
The mobilization of neighboring countries to help us so quickly demonstrates the depth of relations between those countries and Israel. Cooperation in the air will be a vital element in controlling the fires,” he said while visiting the Hatzor Israeli Air Force base in central Israel.
The planes are able to carry larger amounts of fire retardant than local aircraft and can also fly despite the high winds sweeping the country.
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) November 25, 2016
Sources: Times of Israel