Light Unto the Nations: IDF’s Unparalleled Humanitarian Efforts Around the World

December 20, 2018

3 min read

In 2014, Commander of British Forces Colonel Richard Kemp testified before the United Nations regarding the conflict in Gaza. “Based on my experience and on my observations, the Israel Defense Force, the IDF, does more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare,” he said.

Indeed, there is no army in the world quite like the Israel Defense Forces. The IDF’s primary mission is to defend the People and the Land of Israel. While the Israeli army performs this responsibility with vigor, it also serves as a “light unto the nations” by aiding countries struck by human and national disasters around the world.


The IDF has led over 27 humanitarian missions around the world, helping on the scenes of earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, building collapses, floods, war, conflict, riots and terrorism. In 1953, when Israel was just five years old, Israeli Navy ships helped survivors of Greece after an earthquake hit the country, taking more than 1,000 lives.

In 1975, an IDF team was sent to the scenes of war between Vietnam and Cambodia, providing medical care to the displaced persons in refugee camps. In 1985, the IDF sent a delegation of medical and search and rescue teams, as well as 350 reservists, to the scene of four severe earthquakes in Mexico City that took more than 10,000 lives. Then to Armenia in 1988, Romania the next year, Croatia, Argentina, Haiti, Japan and the list goes on and on, until present day with humanitarian operations to rescue Syrian wounded.

Today, even after years of terrorism, provocation, rocket attacks, bombings, stabbings and car rammings, Israel continues to transfer emergency medical aid into Gaza and the West Bank, upholding the highest standards of assistance.

As an army whose first and foremost mission is defending its own people, the obvious question is: Why does the IDF care to invest its resources in defending others and becoming known as an “army of relief?” Perhaps it is Israel’s knowledge and experience in handling mass casualties that makes the young country so equipped to dispatch its rescue teams quickly and efficiently. Perhaps its advancements in technology have helped it gain more expertise. Or maybe it’s the people of Israel’s mission statement as a “light unto the nations,” called upon to ignite the world with righteousness. Indeed, the establishment of the State of Israel – and its continued defense – enables the people of Israel to carry out its Biblical mandate to continue its spiritual and moral guidance to the rest of the world.

“The IDF rushes to aid international communities in crisis because it is the right thing to do, even if it is not the easy thing to do,” said John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of American Friends of LIBI. “For the Jewish people’s light to be seen, it cannot be kept within the home. Rather, it must be shared,” he told Breaking Israel News.

The LIBI Fund is an all-volunteer organization that provides for the educational, social and medical needs of the soldiers of Israel. “LIBI USA is proud to support this amazing army that is constantly supporting others in need,” said Grossman. “There is no other army that provides search and rescue, humanitarian and medical services to foreign countries to the degree and extent of the IDF.”

While the IDF has made a name for itself as first responders to humanitarian crises around the world, still, the mainstream media reports a biased and negative view of the IDF. But even in the most-criticized wars that the IDF has fought, the IDF has chosen to risk its own success for the sake of saving innocent lives. Warning leaflets, texts and phone calls to Gazans are an IDF standard, notifying civilians that there is missile fire coming from their buildings and telling them to evacuate before the IDF enters. Meanwhile, Hamas orders them to stay put, turning them into human shields and taking advantage of the IDF’s standard of minimizing Gazan casualties. Even when Israel’s enemies aspire for death of its own civilians and its enemies, the IDF aspires for life, both in Israel and abroad.

It is with this very value, the value of life, that the IDF is a light unto the nations, travelling across the globe helping disaster stricken communities and fulfilling its moral imperative.

They support us, help support them. Please make a donation to LIBI USA to aid the IDF’s unparalleled efforts around the world.

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