Israeli team digs in to help Greek earthquake victims

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Members of the Greek Jewish community contacted Israeli Ambassador Ran Couriel to offer assistance to team members — including opening their homes to the rescuers for Rosh Hashanah.

On last Friday evening, the Israelis paused in their work to mark Rosh Hashanah near the rubble of a six-story office building with 48 people believed buried inside.

"We raised a toast, sang a few songs for the holiday and then went back to work," said Col. Udi Ben-Uri, the unit commander.

This is the second time an Israeli unit has pitched in to help rescue Greek earthquake victims. In 1953 Israel dispatched help after the entire island of Cephalonia was razed by a temblor.

At that time, a ship belonging to the still-young Israeli navy was on maneuvers in the Mediterranean and headed for the island, arriving even before Greek officials were able to send help.

The Greek government honored that effort earlier this year.