Israeli Firefighters Land in Ethiopia to Help With Wildfires

“To Me, O Israelites, you are Just like the Ethiopians —declares Hashem. True, I brought Yisrael up From the land of Egypt, But also the Philistines from Caphtor And the Arameans from Kir.” Amos 9:7)

A group of ten firefighters and an expert from the Home Front Command arrived in  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday to help with the wildfires that have been burning out of control for two weeks in the Simien Mountains in the north of the country. One member of the group is an expert in aerial firefighting techniques.

The mountains are a World Heritage Site and one of the country’s main tourist attractions. The national park is home to several rare animal species including the Waliya ibex and Gelada baboon.

“The arrival of the delegation was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Prime Minister Netanyahu after Israel’s government immediately acceded to a request from the Ethiopian government for assistance in extinguishing the fire,” the Foreign Ministry explained. “A request [for assistance] was made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Friday.”

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The group is being led by Zion Shenkar, who was born in Ethiopia and was the Israel Defense Force’s first-ever battalion commander from the Ethiopian community.

Last month, a wildfire lit by individuals ravaged through the region, damaging 342 hectares of a forest in the national park. The current fire has proved difficult to extinguish because of the rugged terrain.