Peres thanks Russian minister for fire help (JERUSALEM POST) By GREER FAY CASHMAN 12/07/10)
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President Shimon Peres on Monday expressed his own and the nation’s
appreciation to Russian Deputy Civil Defense, Emergency and Disaster
Relief Minister Pavel Plat and his large delegation that came to
battle the Mount Carmel fires.
The group was given a red carpet welcome.
Russian flags were mounted in the courtyard and reception areas of
Beit Hanassi and sprigs of rosebuds in Russia’s national colors that
had been laid out on trays were pinned to the uniforms of each member
of the Russian team.
Peres walked around the room and shook the hand of each and then
welcomed them in Russian before switching to Hebrew.
“We thank you from the depths of our hearts,” he said, commending the
bravery of the firefighters and rescue operators. “This is an act of
courage and friendship that we will never forget.”
The Russian team had demonstrated to the whole world, that
notwithstanding differences in attitude and outlook, disaster brings
out the best in people and prompts nations to cooperate with each
other, Peres said.
Russian courage is well known in Israel, he said, because so many
Israelis are of Russian background, and still carry Russia in their
He recalled having been in Russia last spring for the 65th
anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis by the Red Army, and watching
aged veterans marching courageously and with pride.
Peres lamented the fact that it takes a catastrophe to bring nations
together, but added that such tragedies may sometimes lead to peace.
In this context he stated how touched Israel had been to receive an
offer of help from the Palestinian Authority.
The offer could be interpreted as a step towards peace, he said.
Peres asked Plat to convey Israel’s thanks to President Dmitry
Medvedev and to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev, who is due to visit Israel early in 2011, sent a message of
condolence to Peres over the weekend.
Peres said that the swift Russian response to Israel’s needs would
definitely enhance relations between the two countries.
The motto of his ministry, said Plat, is Prevention, Rescue and Help.
“That’s what we try to do in circumstances of the kind that brought
us to Israel. We came to do whatever possible to put out the fires.”
Plat was full of praise for the cooperation that his team had
received from the IDF, from Israeli firefighters and rescue operators
and from municipal services that maintained constant contact and
ensured that all the Russian needs were met.
“We are happy that in this joint effort, we were able to overwhelm
this disaster,” he said. “We put a great deal of effort into what we
did, but we would not have been nearly as effective without the
efficient and rapid services that were provided for us by the
Plat was also appreciative of the cooperation of government ministers
from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu downwards.
“Everyone helped us to carry out our mission,” he said.
He hoped that the Russian firefighting tactics and technology that
his team had shared with their Israeli counterparts would prove
useful in the future, and that what his team had done would
contribute to the friendship between the two countries. (© 1995 -
2010 The Jerusalem Post. 12/07/10)
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