TEL AVIV – The Iranian regime cares more about hating Israel then taking care of its own people, which is why it turned down Israel’s offer of assistance in the wake of a major earthquake, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
In a video message, Netanyahu said his “heart sank” when he encountered images of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated areas of Iraq and Iran Sunday evening, killing at least 550 people and injuring more than 7,000.
“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 prime minister added.
Netanyahu also mentioned Israel’s history of providing relief to disaster zones. “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 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 said.
Netanyahu first announced the offer the previous day at an annual gathering for North American Jewish leaders, saying that Israel would do everything it could to assist the Red Cross in its relief efforts.
The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that it received Israel’s offer.