Israel held a multinational emergency firefighting drill this week with European states, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority attending and participating.
The drill was held in Israel and began on Tuesday, the event organized by numerous ministries and organizations in Israel, including the IDF, Foreign Ministry, Public Security Ministry, IDF Homefront Command and Magen David Adom. Croatia, France, Italy and Spain participated under the European Commissions’ Emergency Response Coordination Center.
The drills were centered on regional cooperation in times of natural disasters and fires, with scenarios and drills with over 400 attending firefighters. Search and rescue teams also held joint training.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the drill as “The overall goal of the exercise is for participants to exchange knowledge and attain common capacities, to effectively respond to disaster situations, especially along and across mutual borders.”
Regional drills have resulted from increased cooperation with neighboring European states, Egypt and Jordan in firefighting and natural disaster relief. Regional cooperation and military drills have also increased significantly as Israel strengthens its relations with neighboring states. Egypt, Greece, Israel and Cyprus recently announced a joint air force drill to be held in the coming months. Several European states have been invited and are expected to participate.
In December of 2016, Israel, Cyprus and Greece announced the formation of a regional disaster task force following the threat of fires in the region. Greece and Cyprus were first responders to fires in Israel after arson attacks by Israeli-Arab citizens in November of last year, Israel previously first responder to fires in Cyprus earlier in the year.
During an announcement ceremony for the emergency task force’s formation, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated the “regional emergency force/multinational force… will be not merely coordinated in times of crisis, but will actually have a joint command center, will involve not only our three countries but more countries that we’ll bring in, plan the construction, plan the buildup of these forces for firefighting, earthquakes, floods, search and rescue.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, October 25, 2017, and reposted with permission.