Eleven experts from Israel’s National Fire and Rescue Authority departed for Brazil Tuesday evening to provide assistance and professional knowhow to Brazilian government, military and firefighting authorities combatting the blazes raging for the past month in the Amazon rainforest.
Headed by Yair Elkayam, Deputy Commander of the Northern District, the delegation was sent by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Council and Ministry of Public Security after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Israel’s help in a conversation with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedy Simhi directed preparations for the delegation in Israel, while the Israeli embassy and the IDF Military Attaché in Brasilia are coordinating with the Brazilian authorities.
The Foreign Ministry noted that over the past year, Netanyahu visited Brazil and Bolsonaro visited Israel, signing agreements for closer cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science, health, cyber and more. These agreements will increase Israeli exports to the largest Latin American country.
In August, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world. An estimated one million indigenous people and three million species of plants and animals live in the rainforest.
Bolsonaro tweeted on August 25 that he’d received a phone call from Netanyahu offering to aid the firefighting efforts of the Brazilian armed forces and had gratefully accepted.