IDF Assisting With Response To Miami Building Collapse, Turns Down Free Hotel Rooms To Sleep In Tents
A Miami-Dade firefighter works during a rescue operation of a partially collapsed building in Surfside north of Miami Beach, Florida on June 25, 2021. - Four people are now known to have died in the collapse of an oceanfront apartment building near Miami Beach, officials said Friday, while the number of unaccounted for has risen to 159 -- fueling fears of a much higher death toll.

The Israel Defense Forces arrived in Miami, Florida, this week to assist with search and rescue operations in response to the condo building that collapsed which has left well over 100 people missing.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted on Sunday: “Yesterday, @IsraeliPM @naftalibennett offered Israel’s full support to Florida, and today, at the request of some Surfside families, we welcomed an expert IDF recovery team to supplement Surfside’s search and rescue efforts.”

Arutz Sheva 7 reported on Monday that the Israeli forces in Miami “turned down an offer for free hotel rooms, preferring to sleep in tents at the site of the Surfside, Florida, disaster,” according to a local Florida mayor.

Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman told Arutz Sheva 7 that “the rescue workers are working as fast as they can, in a very difficult worksite, with very difficult conditions,” but noted that it was still “a long process, it’s a slow process for the families.”

“News is starting to come in now for the families, more and more, unfortunately we haven’t had good news in a couple days, and the pressure continues to build,” he said. “I visited the site several times a day since this started, for hours upon hours, and the rescue workers are working at full capacity, they have heavy machinery there, they’re working, everybody wants it to be faster. It’s never fast enough, but they have to do it in a careful way to make sure that they don’t hurt the site in the sense that they’re not hurting other people that are there in the rubble.”

Groisman said that it was an “incredible” sight to see Israeli forces on the ground assisting in recovery efforts.

“I can tell you personally that I spoke a lot to the family members; I spent most of my time with the family members, and those from the Jewish community were begging for the Israelis to come in,” Groisman said. “I was able to organize hotel rooms for the search and rescue team; it was donated by a local hotel here, and when they showed up we told them that we had hotel rooms for them actually on the beach so they can rest and they rejected the hotel rooms. They want to stay in the tents on the site with the rest of the team; they’re here to work.”

“I hope that at some point they get a moment to rest, but they say that they’ll rest when they get home,” Groisman concluded. “We just had at the shul in Bal Harbour here with Rabbi Lipsker, we had a big community service to pray for the victims and to support the rescue workers. And I can tell you that people not just from all parts of the Jewish religion but from other religions came to join us. This is a very tight-knit community and together we’re doing what we can to pray, to hope to bring a big, big [miracle] for the families.”

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