Israeli President: Croatian Pilots Are Heroes in Israel

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Updated on:

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Source: Office of President of Israel

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited flight crews of the Croatian Air Force which are fighting wildfires in Israel.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited Croatian flight crews which are fighting wildfires in Israel. In this way, he once again expressed gratitude of people of Israel and the highest state authorities for the strong contribution and assistance of the Croatian Air Force in fire fighting activities on the territory of Israel, reports Večernji List on November 28, 2016.

Speaking to representatives of international forces that had arrived in Israel to assist in fire fighting efforts, President Rivlin said that he had just returned from Nataf which was damaged by the fires but whose residents were grateful to flight crews because no one was injured.

“On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank you from my heart for your courage and generosity, and I will send my gratitude to your state leaders who have responded without hesitation to our call for help. You have shown what is true friendship. Until now, you have been heroes in your own countries, but now you are heroes in our country as well. Each of you have left your family, home and country, boarded a plane and in a short time stretched out your hand of friendship to help save lives, and therefore I thank you once again”, said President Rivlin.

Members of aerial fire-fighting forces from Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Russia, USA, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, France, Spain and Romania are currently in Israel.

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Fire squadron commander and leader of Croatian forces in Israel Colonel Davor Turković said that the meeting with the President took place in a friendly atmosphere, where one could feel how much Israel valued the quick and effective response by Croatian aerial fire-fighting forces. “Once again, he emphasized the exceptional role of Croatian forces in extinguishing the fires, and particularly the speedy arrival of the Croatian contingent. It took us just 24 hours to come to Israel from the moment we received the first call, regardless of the geographical distance between Israel and Croatia, and we were among the first who started assisting in extinguishing fires from the air”, said Colonel Turković.

After meeting with the Israeli President, Croatian forces immediately returned to work in the northern parts of Israel and continued fighting fires. In the past three days, Croatian forces spent a total of 31 hours in the air and used about 270 tons of water. Although active fires have been extinguished, in some locations there are still low-intensity fires, and therefore this morning, on Monday at 6 am, one Croatian plane started a new fire-fighting mission.

The decision on the provision of humanitarian assistance, by sending two Canadair aircraft to Israel, was made by the Croatian government on 23 November, at the proposal of Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for help.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Netanyahu also visited Croatian aircrews and thanked them for their help.


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