Exclusive Series: True Life from the Front Lines of the IDF (Part 1 of 3)

June 30, 2014

2 min read

Testimonies provided by The Institute for Zionist Strategies

My last job placement in the IDF was as the medical deputy of the Gaza division, a job I received after serving as the medical officer for the Northern Gaza Brigade. Previously, I worked as a medical officer in the southern brigade during a total of three years of out five in the IDF.

In August 2008, during my last Shabbat in active service, tensions between Fatah and Hamas escalated. Hamas activists began to slaughter members of Fatah. In many cases, Fatah members were thrown handcuffed off roofs.

At some point during the clashes, Fatah activists began to flee towards the border – toward Israel, near the Karni crossing where the Gaza Northern Division was stationed.

Following asylum request, Israeli government officials allowed those fleeing Hamas to pass through Israel.

As soon as they began crossing through the fence, we discovered the true nature of the event. There were two hundred people seeking refuge, of which a hundred were wounded. The injuries ranged from minor to major.

Myself and fellow medical officers realized that there was a need for extensive medical assistance and immediately opened a treatment station in the driveway of the Nahal Oz base, with medical care provided by two physicians, four paramedics and 15 medics.

The divisions’ chief medical officer was rushed from his home on a Saturday to help manage the event and make a “Trieg'” [sorting the wounded according to the degrees of injury]. Junior medical staff manned the treatment stations at the levels of organization, management and care that was definitely impressive for a field hospital.

Around 15 of Magen David Adom’s [Israel’s ambulance division] ICU ambulances and MICUs [Medical Intensive Care Unit] were called in and began rounds of evacuating the wounded to approved hospitals. Finally, after many hours, all the injured activists were evacuated and we did not lose one person. Everyone survived.

However, what is most shocking to me that I would like to point out, is that throughout the entire incident, we were under attack from mortars and were at risk of getting injured ourselves.

The wounded as well as the healthy activists who received asylum and treatment in Israel weren’t innocent civilians; these people were identified with Fatah and partially involved in activity against Israel, possibly violent activity. But as we have been taught as people, soldiers, medical staff and Israelis, we helped the asylum seekers. Why? Because they were first and foremost an injured person who needed medical help to save their life. We did not judge them by their actions.

Treating the Fatah activists not at all an easy task but I can say that we successfully met the challenge in different ways.

The emergency operation to treat the activists was the largest and most complex I had ever been a part of. However, it is just one of many in which myself and others have medically assisted residents of Gaza despite significant risk to ourselves.

Whether the injuries were caused accidentally by soldiers, happened during hostile activity against Israel and the IDF, or terrorists injured during an exchange of gunfire, they received medical treatment just like every other person.

This is the code and this is the spirit of the Israel Defense Forces. I am proud to be part of a system that educates people according to these values ​​and applies them in the field, despite the challenges.


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