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September 26, 2017 4:09 pm

Member of IDF Aid Mission to Mexico: Helping People in Need Is in Our Hearts

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Interview

Members of the IDF delegation in action on the ground in Mexico City. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

As Israelis prepared to celebrate Rosh Hashanah last week, several dozen members of the IDF Home Front Command were packing their equipment ahead of a 20-hour journey to Mexico, where they were being dispatched to provide assistance in the wake of the deadly Sept. 19 earthquake that rocked the central part of country.

Since their arrival in Mexico City on Thursday, members of the Israeli delegation have been taking part in search-and-rescue operations, as well as surveying damaged buildings.

“Our mission is to support the people here, and this is very important for us,” Colonel (res.) Gili Shenhar told The Algemeiner by telephone from Mexico on Monday.

More than 300 people were killed and thousands were injured by the 7.1-magnitude tremor, whose epicenter was located around 76 miles southeast of the Mexican capital.

Shenhar praised the “very strong” resilience of the Mexican people, saying it was “really nice to see.”

“So far, we have not been lucky enough to pull out anyone alive from under the rubble, but we have been able to find some bodies and bring them to the families who were waiting for them,” Shenhar said.

On Monday, the Israeli team was working at the site of a collapsed six-story building.

“The gratitude of the people has been amazing,” Shenhar said. “I’ve never seen such warmth. They keep saying, ‘Thank you for coming.’”

“All people on the street, they recognize us immediately and say that we are the best and they are so happy we arrived,” he continued.

The delegation is expected to return to Israel later this week.

Shenhar has taken part in numerous IDF aid missions over the past 25 years in different parts of the world, including Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“This is something that is in our hearts — helping people when they are in need,” he said.

Watch a video showing the IDF delegation’s activities in Mexico below:

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