Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (1/17/2010):
"I would like to say a few words about the horrific tragedy that took place in Haiti. What happened there is a large-scale disaster of very great proportions. The lack of protective measures only deepened the tragedy. I think that it is our obligation, as the State of Israel, as the state of the Jewish People, to mobilize immediately – and this we have done. As soon as I learned of the dimensions of the disaster, I ordered that a team be dispatched. It left with the speed characteristic of the IDF, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.
The defense establishment sent a team which has begun to work and is already saving lives. It is a field hospital with doctors, x-ray machines and other vital pieces of equipment that are in short supply in Haiti. I think that this is in the best tradition of the Jewish People; this is the true covenant of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.
This follows operations we have carried out in Kenya and Turkey; despite being a small country, we have responded with a big heart. The fact is, I know, that this was an expression of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish ethic of helping one's fellow. I hope that the team saves lives and that Haiti succeeds in recovering from this awful tragedy.