Past IDF (Zahal) Search and Rescue Aid Delegations Abroad

Over the years, the Home Front Command has operated in several major crisis zones in the world, acquiring high level skills, both technologically and in the ability to find creative solutions.

Below are a number of examples of the Home Front Command’s missions abroad:

  • Collapsed Building, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2006 – When a five story building collapsed in Nairobi, Israel sent a team of 80 S&R personnel to assist with the rescue efforts, under the command of Maj. General Yitzhak Gershon, Head of the Home Front Command.
  • Car bomb explosion at the China Hilton Hotel in October, 2004 – Immediately after receiving the initial details of the attack, the Search and Rescue Unit was called to the scene in order to rescue those trapped in the hotel ruins. The staff began intensive activity at the site of the incident in order to evacuate the injured and locate the persons trapped in the ruins.
  • Kenya 2003 – An aid delegation, headed by the outgoing OC – Home Front Command at the time, Brig. Gen. Eitan Dangot departed for Mombassa following a terror attack at the Paradise Hotel. Dozens were injured, among them 21 Israeli citizens. The mission intended to provide medical aid to those injured in the hotel and to return the Israeli citizens back home at the fastest possible speed. After 12 hours, 270 Israeli citizens were returned to Israel.
  • Earthquake, India, January 2001 – After a massive earthquake in western India, Israel sent 5 planes laden with over 65 tons of equipment and aid and 170 search and rescue personnel. The delegation set up one of the largest field hospitals in Buhj staffed with doctors, nurses, medical assistants and IDF (Zahal) and Magen David Adom paramedics, who treated roughly 1,300 casualties, delivered 12 babies and helped with S&R efforts in the field.
  • Aid to victims of the earthquake in Northwestern Turkey 1999 – Two Search and Rescue delegations were sent to Turkey following the disaster and a field hospital was constructed. The delegation  rescued 12 survivors and 140 victims. The field hospital in Adapazari serviced 1200 injured patients, performed 40 surgeries and delivered 15 babies.
  • Greece 1999 – Assisting in the search and rescue mission following an earthquake in September 1999.
  • Car bomb explosion at the American Embassy in Kenya in August, 1998 – Following the explosion of a car bomb in close proximity of the American Embassy in Kenya, the Search and Rescue Unit worked to locate and evacuate 96 victims. The Israeli delegation received appreciation and recognition from the Kenyan and world public. The Israeli delegation was the first to arrive on the scene from abroad and began its mission immediately.
  • Bombing of the Jewish community building in Argentina, June 1994 – In which the building collapsed as a result of a car bomb. Over nine days of intensive efforts, the Rescue unit, in cooperation with additional rescue forces, was able to rescue those trapped, and recover 81 bodies.
  • Earthquake in Armenia, December 1988 – The Search and Rescue Unit, in cooperation with additional forces, operated for 12 days in an attempt to rescue those trapped under the ruins of buildings that collapsed.
  • Earthquake in Mexico, September 1985 – The Search and Rescue Unit, in cooperation with additional forces, operated for 16 days in an attempt to rescue those trapped under the ruins of buildings that collapsed (55 people).