Brazil’s president thanks Israel for post-dam disaster aid, hails collaboration in science and technology

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro thanked Israel on Thursday for providing emergency relief to the victims of a recent dam collapse.

By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner

“The brave Israeli troops sent by prime minister Netanyahu finish today their mission here in Brazil,” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted on Thursday. “On behalf of the Brazilian people, I thank the state of Israel for the services provided in Brumadinho MG in partnership with the Brazilian Armed Forces and Firefighters.”

A team of 100 Israeli military personnel arrived in Brazil on Sunday to assist in search operations after a dam collapsed in Brumadinho in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. The Israeli delegation included medics, rescue specialists and a scuba unit.

Israel was the only country to send a team of this kind to Brazil.

“Following a situational assessment and discussions with local officials, it emerged that search and rescue is the main need at the Brazilian disaster site,” the IDF said at the time.

The IDF team was unable to locate any survivors of the disaster, but recovered some 20 bodies.

One of the soldiers who took part in the mission was an army psychologist, who spoke about the traumatic impact of the dam collapse, saying, “One of the bodies we recovered turned out to be a partner of the driver who drove us to the disaster area. We saw a picture of her in his car and realized who she was. He burst out crying, and said that he knew from the start she didn’t survive.”

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In another tweet on Thursday, Bolsonaro hailed Brazil’s minister of science, technology, and innovation Marcos Pontes’ current trip to Israel, the first of its kind for a holder of his title.

“This is the 3rd day of the Minister of Science and Technology @Astro_Pontes in Israel,” wrote Bolsonaro. “His visit’s goal is to develop partnerships that we can bring to Brazil. Everyone wins. Science and technology in favor of the economic growth and development of our country.”