IDF Rescue Unit Always on Duty Around the World

July 12, 2013

2 min read

IDF Search and Rescue

 …neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor…” (Leviticus 19:16)

IDF Search and Rescue
IDF Search and Rescue Exercise (Photo: IDF)

The bible admonishes us not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor, and two vacationing IDF Search and Rescue Unit members took the command to heart.  While hiking in Wales earlier this week, they helped save a 67-year-old fellow hiker who had fallen.

The man was hiking on a trail known as “one step in the clouds” when he fell 32 ft (10 m).  His gear got caught, stopping his fall, and the two Israelis found him and offered assistance.  They were joined by a 14-member local rescue team.  The man was ultimately airlifted to hospital with a broken leg.

The IDF National Search and Rescue Unit was established in 1983.  According to the IDF website, “The unit is comprised primarily of reservists who are always on call, with prepared kits to enable immediate departure, and a small core of soldiers in mandatory service.”  Perhaps this is why the two hikers were so quick to step up.

The IDF Search and Rescue Unit has been involved in many rescue operations in Israel and around the world.  In 2012, the unit went to Ghana to assist in a rescue operation after a shopping mall collapsed.  They travelled to Japan after the tsunami of 2011 to offer assistance.  In 2010, the Home Front Command deployed the Search and Rescue Unit to Haiti, following the disastrous 7.0 earthquake.  In 2006, they arrived within 23 hours of a 5-storey building’s collapse in Kenya, rescuing two people who were trapped inside.  They have provided aid after earthquakes in India (2001), Greece, Turkey (both 1999), Armenia (1988) and Mexico (1985).

Within Israel, some of their larger-scale rescue operations have included train wrecks in Beit Yehoshua and Revidim, a collapsed building in Tel Aviv in 2006 and the collapse of a banquet hall in Jerusalem during a wedding.


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