Iran turned down Israeli aid offer after earthquake
November 24, 2017
Israel offered aid to the Islamic republic after it was was hit by a powerful earthquake but was turned down, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Addressing the Jewish Federations of North America's (JFNA) annual General Assembly in Los Angeles via videoconference on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that Israel had offered the aid via the Red Cross.
"I just saw the pictures of the destruction in Iran and Iraq from this week's earthquake. And I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble. So I am proud to announce tonight that a few hours ago I directed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster," Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel.
At least 530 people were killed and 7,700 more were injured when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook a mountainous Iranian border town in the West on Sunday, triggering landslides that hindered rescue efforts and left hundreds of houses damaged.
Israel is world-renowned for the IDF's crack search and rescue unit, which recently returned from a recovery mission in quake-struck Mexico.
"I've said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran," he underscored. "Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. But our humanity is greater than their hatred. Israel continues to be a light unto the nations and this is what I am proud of. And all of you can be proud of Israel's morals, and Israel's might."
As expected, the offer was immediately rejected.
"This shows the true face of the Iranian regime," an official in Netanyahu's office said.
Iran does not recognize Israel right to exist and often threatens to destroy it.
In 2003, Tehran rejected a similar Israeli offer of assistance after a quake in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam killed more than 26,000 people. In 2012, when two quakes hit the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan, killing more than 300 people and injuring 3,000, Israel did not offer assistance, citing the rejected offer.