Skip To Content
Breaking News

In Devasating New Zealand Quake, Four Israelis Are Among Those Feared Dead

Up to four Israelis who were in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time remain missing and are feared dead.

On Wednesday, Israel’s consul to New Zealand, Teddy Poplinger, said that his staff is working to contact all Israelis who were reported to be in the area of the quake when it struck on Tuesday.

“[T]here is a list of Israelis who have yet to make contact. We are more worried about three or four of them because they were last seen around town prior to the earthquake,” Poplinger told Israeli media Wednesday.

Israeli backpacker Ofer Mizrahi, 23, was among 75 confirmed killed in Tuesday’s earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and devastated the city of Christchurch. Some 300 people are still listed as missing and many are known to be trapped in buildings. The city’s Chabad center was destroyed in the quake.

Israel, which has hundreds of nationals trekking in New Zealand every year, offered to send food and medicine to help; Magen David Adom is assessing the possibility of sending rescue personnel. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said there were up to 150 Israelis in Christchurch at the time of the quake.

Prime Minister John Key, the son of a Jewish refugee who escaped Europe on the eve of the Holocaust, called the disaster the nation’s “darkest day.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.