Israel offered aid to Iran in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake it experienced this week – an offer that was immediately rejected by Tehran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night.
Netanyahu revealed the Israeli offer in a recorded speech presented at an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of North America. Israel, he said, had “no quarrel” with the Iranian people, and wanted to help them regardless of the political differences between the two countries. Over 500 people have been reported killed in the earthquake that struck Sunday, with some 8,000 injured.
The offer was made via the International Red Cross, which Netanyahu said would have handled all aid distribution. “I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble,” Netanyahu said of the earthquake in his speech. “A few hours ago I instructed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster. Now, you heard me right,” Netanyahu continued. “I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. But our humanity is greater than their hatred. Israel continues to be a light unto the nations.”
With that, Netanyahu acknowledged that Israel and Iran were still bitter enemies. Without going into details, Netanyahu said that the tensions between Iran and Israel, as well as with many other countries in the Middle East, “have brought us closer than ever to our neighbors.”
A source in the Prime Minister’s Office told Yediot Acharonot that “Prime Minister Netanyahu reaches out to the Iranian people as part of Israel’s strategic stance, in order to enable the Iranian people to realize that Israel differentiates between the people and the government of Iran. Israel made the offer to the Red Cross, which forwarded it to Iran, which immediately turned it down. This again reveals the true face of the regime in Iran.”