Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday made a rare offer to assist Lebanon as it experiences an unprecedented economic crisis, saying it was his responsibility “as a Jew and as a human” to alleviate suffering.
“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a human being, my heart aches seeing the images of people going hungry on the streets of Lebanon,” he wrote Sunday on Twitter. “Israel has offered assistance to Lebanon in the past, and even today we are ready to act and to encourage other countries to extend a helping hand to Lebanon so that it will once again flourish and emerge from its state of crisis.”
According to the World Bank, more than half of Lebanon’s population is living below the poverty line and its financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, and possibly even the top three, most colossal crises in the world since the mid-1800s.
The Washington Post on Monday reported the energy crisis in the country was partly due to smugglers trading in illicit commerce of gasoline.
“Israel has offered to help Lebanon in the past, and we are prepared today as well to work to help it grow and get out of this crisis,” Gantz said.
Last year, Israel offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon after a massive explosion at a Beirut port killed at least 100 people and injured thousands more, leaving large swaths of the capital in ruins.