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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

CHIA Co-Chairs Praise U.S., Greek, and Cypriot Response to Israel Wildfires

November 30, 2016
Press Release

Last week, Israel suffered devastating wildfires that swept across its northern and central regions. An international coalition assembled to assist Israel in the response and relief efforts. Among the first to respond were Greece and Cyprus.  Co-Chairs of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance (CHIA) Caucus Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) praised these efforts.  

“I was very pleased to see the expediency of generosity on the part of Greece and Cyprus,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Disasters, like what we have seen in Israel, have a way of reminding us of what matters – people, not politics. Israel is no stranger to hardship and has overcome many tribulations in its long history. As Israel shifts from response to recovery, the United States will continue to stand with and support Israel. Israel has been and continues to be a steadfast ally in a volatile Middle East. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.”

“As Israel begins to recover from these devastating fires, I’m grateful to the many countries that came swiftly to Israel's aid,” said Congressman Deutch. “Among the first to respond were Greece and Cyprus, once again highlighting the deep partnership and friendship between these countries. My thoughts are with all of those in Israel affected by these tragic fires. The United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our great friend and ally Israel and support her in times of need.”

Greece deployed multiple firefighting aircrafts (1 C-130 and 3 CL-145) along with flying and technical personnel. Cyprus provided a firefighting aircraft along with firefighting and civil-defense personnel. In addition, a 747 Supertanker (the largest aerial firefighting aircraft in the world that can also fly at night when winds are stronger) was dispatched from the U.S. along with firefighting personnel from across the country.