The European Commission has moved quickly to help Israel put out the forest fires blazing in the north of the country. Last night, acting upon Israel's request for help, the Commission activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Within hours, the participating States offered the necessary fire-retardant and extinguishing materials. "In crises like this, every minute counts," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva. Alongside the assistance coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Israel is receiving help from several EU Member States, which have mobilised fire-fighting aircraft and personnel.