The Israel Defense Forces, in a recent blog, takes its readers for “an inside look” into an Israeli field hospital that was set up last year to treat wounded Syrian civilians near the northern border.
The Israeli hospital treats Syrians “regardless of the tense relations between Israel and Syria, who are still officially at war,” the blog explains. IDF soldiers fulfilling this humanitarian deed “continue to apply a core Jewish value: ‘Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.'”
“For the past three years, death has become a way of life for Syrian civilians, who are caught in the throes of a brutal civil war,” the blog states.
The war, which began as an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, quickly became a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 innocent people, including children and the elderly, have died in the fighting.
Col. Tariff Bader, a Druze senior medical officer in the IDF’s Northern Command, heads the field hospital.
On February 16, 2013, seven wounded civilians from Syria approached Israel’s border in desperate need of medical attention. They “were treated by the same people who treat IDF soldiers in the Golan Height,” Bader said. “The ethical code of the IDF Medical Corps clearly states that soldiers must assist anyone who is sick or wounded – whether they are associated with the enemy or not.”
This incident was the impetus for the IDF’s outstanding mission to assist Syrian civilians in need.
“When we realized we would be receiving many patients, we decided to build a field hospital so that we could treat people with serious injuries who require immediate care,” Bader continued, explaining that the victims could not have survived a trip to a civilian hospital.
“There has not been a single case in which an injured Syrian was denied medical treatment by the IDF or by a civilian hospital,” Bader asserted. “I’m sure of that.”
The Israeli soldiers risk their lives treating injured Syrians in such a dangerous location in reach of mortar fire from Syria.
The connection between the Israeli soldiers and Syrian people has blossomed, Bader said. “The Syrian people trust us now. During the first month or so, they were a little hesitant to come to Israel. Today that is no longer the case.”
“Once the patients return to Syria, any evidence of their presence in Israel can put their lives in grave danger,” the blog points out. “In order to keep the civilians safe, the IDF takes painstaking measures to remove any indication that they received care in Israel.”
Furthermore, many patients “suffer extreme trauma as a result of the conflict. After seeing death and destruction all around them, they carry difficult memories that are just as painful as their physical wounds. To ease the psychological trauma of children, clowns visit the hospital on a regular basis, giving the young patients a chance to smile and laugh.”
“I myself am a father,” Bader said. “The injuries of children leave the greatest impact on me.”
Bader was also a part of the IDF delegation to Haiti in 2010.
“I feel exactly the same about the lives we save on our own border,” he declared. “It fills me with pride to accomplish this mission.”
Date: Feb. 3, 2014