A newly designated IDF (Zahal) reserves company will focus entirely on providing medical care and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian population. In a recent week-long exercise, these reservists worked to refine their abilities in order to provide the best possible care.
Recently, the reservists endured an intense week-long medical exercise led by Maj. (Res.) Amit Katzir. They were confronted with stressful real-time situations in order to bolster their responsiveness during times of unexpected emergency. Beyond providing urgent treatment, the reservists also practiced their readiness in providing aid after natural disasters and other extreme circumstances.
Capt. (Res.) Dr. Lev stresses that when people are wounded, attention is not placed on whether or not the person is Israeli, but on the importance of people’s common humanity. “This medical care stems from our commitment to the Jewish and modern value of human rights,” he elaborates.
The company is staffed by doctors, medics, and nurses –all trained to provide effective medical care. These medical reservists are supplied with advanced equipment that would allow them to function like a full-fledged civilian hospital staff. The emphasis is placed on both physical and psychological attention, ensuring that patients receive all the care they may need. Patients are offered an interpreter and have the option of bringing a friend for support. If additional care is needed, doctors can send their patients for further medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
“The idea of adapting the unit actually came from our soldiers who recognized the need for it in the field,” explains Capt. (Res.) Dr. Yishai Lev, the deputy company commander. “We felt that medical care was needed for the entire population in times of need. Now, we provide first class care in a variety of situations: during and after riots, operations and even natural disasters.”
The company also works closely with Palestinian medical institutions to help develop Palestinian medical infrastructure. “When people are in need of care, we can’t afford to be indifferent,” explains Capt. (Res.) Dr. Lev. “My soldiers leave their families, children, and jobs behind not just because they are obligated to carry out their reserve duty, but because they deeply understand the importance of fulfilling their mission and are happy to do so.”