During the White House Hanukkah celebration last week, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren recalled last year’s reception in which President Obama came to Israel’s aid “without hesitation” and sent an American fire-fighting team to help put out the Carmel Forest fires.
Adam Kredo of the Washington Jewish Week reported:
‘On route to the President’s Hanukkah reception, right outside of the White House, my cell phone started ringing,’ Oren recalled, according to a transcript of his speech. ‘It was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Carmel Forest in North Israel was ablaze ... and the fire was descending on Haifa. Israel needed fire-fighting planes, at once, but it had none.’
Netanyahu directed his ambassador to, ‘Quick, go ask President Obama for help.’
That’s when Oren entered the White House and asked to see the president.
‘I told him the situation and without hesitation, President Obama turned to one of his aides and said, ‘get Israel whatever it needs. Now,’ ’ Oren recalled.
He explained to those in attendance at Wasserman Shultz’s Hanukkah party that ‘America has 11 fire-fighting planes; the next morning, 8 of them took off for Israel, along with a team of fire-fighting commandos.’
‘Later that night,’ Oren continued, ‘I learned, that the President left the Hanukkah reception and flew secretly to Afghanistan. Upon arriving, he called Washington and the first question he asked, ‘Has Israel gotten its planes?’ He also called Prime Minister Netanyahu and expressed his condolences for Israel’s losses and America’s commitment to Israel’s wellbeing.’
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