The IDF Rescue Team That Recovered Most of the Dead in the Surfside Disaster

Of the 97 individuals whose remains have been located and identified amid the ruins of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, 81 were found by the Israeli military’s National Rescue Unit—which spent fifteen days digging through the rubble. Wendy Rhodes spoke with the unit’s commander, Lieutenant Colonol Golan Vach:

Vach related how, within hours of receiving approval from the U.S. to join the rescue efforts, his team boarded a commercial flight to Miami. On the plane were fifteen of his delegation’s “best people,” Vach said. They arrived at 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, the morning of the fourth day of rescue efforts. And while they were not scheduled to begin work until noon, he said, the team headed straight to the collapse site.

[Vach’s] team did not use dogs . . . but rather a formula that had been honed over almost 40 years. It was expertise developed from responder missions in wars and catastrophic events in Israel and around the world, including in Lebanon, Cyprus, Haiti, Japan, Mexico, Egypt, Honduras, and India. The team had even been on hand to assist during Hurricane Katrina when it flooded and devastated New Orleans in 2005.

So, like attempting to solve the most gruesome of puzzles, Vach’s team poured its sweeping knowledge into studying the pile of concrete, rebar, and assorted building materials along with victims’ consumer goods and personal possessions. . . .

His team also helped family members of the missing arrange travel from places such as Israel, Venezuela, and Colombia, . . . and the Israeli embassy in Washington helped them even further when they arrived in Miami.

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Read more at Palm Beach Post

More about: Florida, IDF, Israeli technology, US-Israel relations

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror