Israel offers aid to Florida, local communities after Surfside condo collapse

Israel’s consul general in Miami said he offered immediate aid to Surfside after the Champlain Towers condo collapsed on Thursday.

Maor Elbaz Starinsky, the newly appointed consul general, said he received phone calls from Israel’s ministers of foreign affairs and diaspora instructing Starinsky to offer “any possible help” to the communities impacted by the collapse.

“We bought medications, a couple thousand dollars worth of medications for Hatzalah,” Starinsky said, referring to the South Florida branch of the Jewish-led volunteer emergency services group that has aided first-responders.

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Starinsky also said he extended offers to Florida and Miami officials to fly in a team of forensics and search-and-rescue experts from Israel to Miami.

“Unfortunately we do have experience with these kind of disasters in Israel,” Starinsky said. “Just a few weeks ago, we had thousands of rockets shelled on our country and missiles hit buildings.”

Starinsky said that staff in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office were still assessing the situation and had not responded to his offer.

Meanwhile, United Hatzalah of Israel, Israel’s largest all-volunteer EMS organization, working in conjunction with El Al Airlines, said in a press release that it has begun preparations to send a team from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to provide psychological support and stabilization to the families and neighbors of those affected by the collapse of the building.