Israel Defense Force Deployed to Help with Florida Condo Collapse Choose Tents over Free Hotel Rooms

TOPSHOT - Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 27, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. - The death toll after the collapse of a Florida apartment tower has risen to nine, the local mayor said on June 27, …
GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

Israel Defense Forces are on the ground in Surfside, Florida to help with the ongoing efforts to rescue and recover almost 150 people still missing since a condominium collapsed Thursday morning. The crew turned down free hotels rooms preferring to set up tents near the site of the wreckage.

“Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered Israel’s full support to Florida, and today, at the request of some Surfside families, we welcomed an expert IDF recovery team to supplement Surfside’s search and rescue efforts,” Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted Sunday.

Israel National News reported on the development:

[Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel] Groisman said it was “incredible to see” the delegation from the IDF’s Home Front Command arrive, adding, “I can tell you personally that I spoke a lot to the family members, I spent most of my time with the family members, and those from the Jewish community were begging for the Israelis to come in.”

“I was able to organize hotel rooms for the search and rescue team, it was donated by a local hotel here, and when they showed up we told them that we had hotel rooms for them actually on the beach so they can rest, and they rejected the hotel rooms. They want to stay in the tents on the site with the rest of the team, they’re here to work.”

“We just had at the shul (synagogue – ed.) in Bal Harbour here with Rabbi Lipsker, we had a big community service to pray for the victims and to support the rescue workers. And I can tell you that people not just from all parts of the Jewish religion but from other religions came to join us. This is a very tight-knit community and together we’re doing what we can to pray, to hope to bring a big big nes (miracle – ed.) for the families.”

Florida Politics reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis led a trade delegation to Israel in 2019 and said at the time that Florida had a positive relationship with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In May, DeSantis spoke in support of Israel amid a rise of conflict between the U.S. ally and Hamas.

Florida Politics reported on developments surrounding the collapse of the 12-story building that led to the confirmed deaths of nine people with 150 still missing:

Working to rescue survivors beneath the rubble of a collapsed 12-story structure, the IDF troops join the roughly 370 emergency workers serving amid the largest non-hurricane deployment in state history.

“These men and women will no stop and will continue to work day and night until the mission is done,” State Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis tweeted Sunday.

Sen. Rick Scott  met with the IDF Sunday afternoon. The Israeli troops specialize in engineering and social care among other proficiencies, Scott said.

“They’re already hard at work,” Scott tweeted.

Scott also met with Israeli Counsel General Elbaz Starinsky and Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai, according to Florida Politics.

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