Many Israeli citizens among the victims of Miami building collapse

Some 34 of the 159 missing people are Jewish, according to the local Chabad, with many believed to be Israeli citizens.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel Newsthe

A massive search and rescue operation, bolstered by support from Orthodox first responder group Hatzalah of South Florida, continues in the Miami suburb of Surfside after a 12 story condominium building partially collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning.

At least four people are dead, and 99 people remain unaccounted for. Some 34 of the 159 missing are Jewish, a representative of Chabad of South Broward told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“This is a heavily Jewish neighborhood, with lots of synagogues and a lot of local residents are haredim,” Hatzalah volunteer Yosef Dahan told Israeli radio station Galei Tzahal on Thursday.

“There’s a large number of people here working to locate those missing among the rubble. We haven’t found anyone else alive so far,” he said.

“We don’t know anything about what caused the incident, and it’s going to take a long time to draw conclusions on what happened here.”

With many of the missing believed to be Israeli citizens, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement that the Israeli government was working overtime to help those affected by the tragedy.

Foreign Ministry staff in Miami and Israel are doing everything they can to help those on the ground, the wounded and the families. It is a difficult and complex event and it will take time to deal with it. We are at their disposal for any assistance they may need.”

Israeli government officials said that many of the missing are Israeli citizens.

“The atmosphere here is very pessimistic,” Israel’s consul general in Miami, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, told Ynet News.

“This is a very tragic incident… We’re in contact with the families of the missing about the possibility of bringing a rescue team from Israel if necessary.”

President Joe Biden officially declared the site a disaster zone and said federal assistance would be sent to help support local rescue teams.

“I made it clear that I say to the people of Florida: Whatever help you want that the federal government can provide, we’re waiting,” Biden said earlier on Thursday.

“Just ask us; we’ll be there. We’ll be there.”