IDF Delegation Returns from Rescue Mission, Philippines Thanks Israel



27 November 2013 Tel Aviv, State of Israel. After a 12-day mission in the typhoon stricken areas of the Philippines, the 148 members of the IDF delegation returned to Israel on 27 November 2013. Upon arriving at the Ben Gurion International Airport Terminal 1, the troops were welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, during a formal ceremony held in their honor. Philippine Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge was invited to greet the soldiers at the airport.

Mission of saving lives

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the troops saying that they were sent to save lives. He also said that they represented the true spirit and value of their country and people, which is reaching out impartially to people around the world. Towards the end of his speech, the Prime Minister encouraged them to continue with their mission and to keep carrying the torch to be able to reach out to others.

"We will not forget..."

During the ceremony, Ambassador Calonge also read the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III, thanking the Israeli Government and people for their kindness. He said that the presence and dedication of the troops not only showed the excellent relations between the Philippines and Israel, but also displayed the Jewish value of tikkun ulam (improving the world). The Ambassador ended his speech saying that the Philippines will not forget Israel's kindness during its time of need.

Israel, among the first to respond

After Typhoon Yolanda ravaged parts of central Philippines, affecting and leaving millions of people displaced from their homes, Israel was among the first to extend humanitarian aid to the country. The Israeli Government immediately sent an advance team from the IDF Home Front Command and MFA to assess the situation before sending a bigger mission. During its stay in the Philippines, the 148-member delegation provided relief goods to the typhoon victims and assisted in various search and rescue operations, as well as the reconstruction of damaged buildings and restoration of water supply. Upon arriving, the troops also set up a field hospital where they treated more than 2,800 patients, including 900 children, performing surgeries and helping in the delivery of 66 babies. Before returning to Israel, they left behind medical equipment and supplies for the typhoon victims. --END--