The joint fire-fighting exercise currently being held by Israel, Greece and Cyprus, led by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli embassy in Nicosia together with the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, the National Emergency Authority and the National Security Council, reached its peak today (Wednesday, 13 April 2016). The joint exercise is the first practical result of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s initiative to build a wide-ranging system of emergency cooperation between the countries, including firefighting and handling of natural disasters.
Israeli and Cypriot firefighting teams | Copyright: Israel embassy, Cyprus
The exercise, the first of its kind between the countries, is also the first time Israeli firefighting teams have trained abroad. The goal is to construct a web of strategic relationships and bilateral and multilateral cooperation which will be functional during emergency situations.
About 160 people from all three countries will be participating in the drill, including: From the Israeli side- 3 firefighting planes, Israel Air Force coordination teams and about 50 firefighters; from Cyprus – over 20 fire trucks, the Cypriot forestry firefighting department, a Cypriot Air Force rescue helicopter and about 100 firefighters; from the Greek side, a firefighting helicopter and approximately 20 firefighters. Likud Party MK Nava Boker may join the exercise on the second day.
The promotion of the strategic cooperation in a sphere such as firefighting in the local and regional public and media realms provides the decision makers from all sides with political leeway vis-à-vis neighboring countries, and also provides additional flexibility in the promotion of other endeavors of strategic cooperation.