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The IDF’s Humanitarian Aid Through the Years

The IDF values human life and helps those in need, regardless of their location. No matter the disaster, time and time again these humanitarian missions have been carried out quickly and effectively, saving thousands of lives. Over the years, the IDF sent 27 humanitarian missions around the world.

1953: Ionian Islands, Greece

The first humanitarian operation that the IDF carried out was in 1953, when Israel was just five years old. That August, an earthquake hit Greece, taking over 1,000 lives. Israeli Navy ships, which were participating in an exercise in the area, helped the survivors and gave them necessary medical treatment. These sailors paved the way for future IDF humanitarian aid missions.

1975: Cambodia

In 1975, the war between Vietnam and Cambodia created many refugees. An IDF team was sent to the scene, where they stayed for over a month and provided medical care to the displaced persons living in temporary refugee camps on the Cambodian-Thai border.

1985: Mexico City, Mexico

In September 1985, four earthquakes hit Mexico City, the most severe measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, and took more than 10,000 lives. The IDF sent a delegation of medical and search and rescue teams, consisting of 350 reservists who were called up within three days of the disaster.

1988: Gyumri, Armenia

On December 6, 1988, an earthquake hit northeastern Armenia and killed nearly 60,000 people. The IDF sent rescue workers and medical supplies to Leninakan (now Gyumri), where 80% of the population was left homeless. The Israeli team was able to rescue 14 people, and worked tirelessly to keep the survivors alive until they were moved to hospitals.

1989: Romania

In the weeks leading up to the Romanian revolution, riots left many Romanians in need. On December 12, 1989, the IDF sent a special aid team of doctors and professional surgeons to Romania to help. Israeli Hercules cargo planes delivered eight tons of medical equipment and food, all of which went towards the effort to aid the Romanian people.

1992: Zagreb, Croatia

On April 18, 1992, during the civil war in Bosnia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), Israel sent 13 tons of humanitarian aid to Zagreb, in nearby Croatia for those suffering as a result of the war.

1994: Buenos Aires, Argentina

On July 18, 1994, Hezbollah operatives committed a massive terror attack on the Asoción Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association), or AMIA, a Jewish organization, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was Argentina’s deadliest bombing, and devastated the Argentine Jewish community, which is one of the biggest in the world. 85 people were killed in the attack, and hundreds more were injured.
A search and rescue team and other IDF teams were sent to Buenos Aires, where they started working as soon as they landed. The IDF delegation developed a new, extremely efficient, and highly advanced search and rescue mechanism.

1994: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

On July 23, 1994, the IDF sent a team of 270 personnel on a 40-day-long humanitarian aid operation. They brought equipment, food, and clothes for refugees of the Rwandan Civil War. During the operation, IDF personnel set up a field hospital and supplied much-needed medical care.

1998: Nairobi, Kenya

On August 7, 1998, a car bomb exploded near the US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Prime Minister of Israel deployed an IDF task force of 170 people, including search and rescue teams and medical experts, to the scene. The IDF task force was the first foreign mission to reach the site, and were able to rescue three survivors.

1999: Macedonia

In 1999, refugees began fleeing to Macedonia as a result of the conflict in Kosovo. On April 6, 1999, the IDF sent an aid delegation of 60 personnel to Macedonia where they built a field hospital with 100 beds. There, Kosovo refugees were able to receive the aid they needed.

1999: İzmit, Turkey

On August 17, 1999, an earthquake, which measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, hit northwestern Turkey. Tens of thousands of buildings collapsed and tens of thousands of people were presumed missing.
The IDF Home Front Command went on a rescue mission to help those in Turkey cope with the aftermath. They rescued 12 survivors, and organized a field hospital where they treated 1,200 wounded people, performed 40 operations, and delivered 15 babies.

1999: Athens, Greece

On September 7, 1999, an earthquake struck Athens. The natural disaster killed 143, injured another 2,000 people, and caused major damage throughout the city and nearby towns.
The IDF sent a delegation to Athens to participate in a search and rescue effort alongside Swiss and French teams. The delegation supplied heavy engineering tools, which enabled the rescue teams to work quickly and efficiently.

2001: Gujarat, India

On January 26, 2001, an earthquake measuring 7.7 Richter scale hit Gujarat, India. The damage killed approximately 20,000 people and injured another 167,000. It also destroyed nearly 400,000 homes, and left 600,000 people homeless.
An IDF delegation of search and rescue soldiers created a 100-bed field hospital near the disaster site. The delegation treated 1,300 injured, performed 52 surgeries, and delivered 12 babies.

2004: Taba, Egypt

On October 7, 2004, a truck drove into the lobby of the Taba Hilton and exploded, killing 31 people and wounding 159. Most of the hotel’s structure collapsed after the explosion.
The IDF delegation, which consisted of Medical Corps and search and rescue teams, worked for three straight days at the site, helping as many people as possible.

2004: Colombo, Sri Lanka

On December 26, 2004, Sri Lanka was hit by a major earthquake and a tsunami, which created deadly flooding and destroyed large areas in Southeast Asia.
The IDF deployed a delegation that consisted of three doctors, a representative from the Search and Rescue Company, and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The team was able to quickly provide medical supplies and necessities.

2005: New Orleans, United States of America

After seeing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in August 2005, IDF Chief Medical Officer Brig. Gen. Yeheskel Levy coordinated the transfer of 80 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to the United States of America.

2006: Nairobi, Kenya

On January 24, 2006, a five story building collapsed in Nairobi, Kenya. Israel sent a team of 80 search and rescue personnel to assist with the rescue efforts, under the command of Maj. General Yitzhak Gershon, Chief of the Home Front Command.

2010: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The IDF delegation, which was sent to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, saved many people from the ruins and set up field hospitals. There, Israeli medical personnel treated more than 1,110 patients, completed 319 successful surgeries, and delivered 16 babies, including three caesarian sections.

2010: Bogotá, Colombia

After heavy rains hit Colombia in December 2010, widespread flooding affected two million people. Nearly 3,860 square miles of farmland were underwater, and hundreds of people died in the resulting flooding and landslides.
The IDF and Israel’s Ministry of Defense sent a humanitarian aid delegation with approximately 50 tons of equipment, to Colombia, including 20 tons of food, 5,000 medical kits, 2,000 blankets, 1,000 ponchos, 1,000 mattresses, and 100 tents. In addition to the supplies, Israel provided medical care to the victims.

2011: Minamisanriku, Japan

In March 2011, a powerful earthquake off the northeastern coast of Japan’s main island caused major on-land damage and a series of tsunami waves that devastated Japan’s coast.
The IDF Home Front Command and Medical Corps aid delegation was deployed to Minamisanriku. The delegation opened an advanced medical clinic with pediatrics, surgical, maternity, gynecological, and otolaryngology wards, an optometry department, a laboratory, a pharmacy and an intensive care unit. During their humanitarian mission, the IDF Medical Corps physicians treated 220 patients.

2011: Erciş, Turkey

On October 23, 2011, a severe earthquake struck Turkey. More than 570 people were killed and thousands of structures were destroyed.
The IDF focused on treating those who were rescued or evacuated in temporary buildings that were used as rehabilitation centers and field hospitals.

2012: Burgas, Bulgaria

In July 2012, Hezbollah bombed a bus carrying 42 Israelis on its way from the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria to local hotels. The terrorist attack killed the Bulgarian bus driver, as well as five Israelis, and injured 32 others.
The Home Front Command, the Israeli Air Force, and the Medical Corps dispatched an aircraft carrying a medical team to Bulgaria following the terrorist attack. The team provided medical care and helped the injured Israelis return home.

2012: Accra, Ghana

In November 2012, a large department store collapsed in Accra, Ghana. An IDF Home Front Command delegation arrived in Accra to help with the relief effort. The delegation included a team of experts and equipment specifically designed to rescue people trapped under ruins. In all, they rescued 78 people from the debris.

2013: Tacloban City, Philippines

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. The storm affected approximately 7 million people. More than 660,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, and about 320,000 were sheltered in evacuation centers.
A 148-member delegation of Israeli soldiers and officers went to the Philippines in order to provide search, rescue, and medical services in typhoon-struck Bogo City. They quickly established an advanced, multi-department field hospital, equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel.

2015: Kathmandu, Nepal

On April 25, 2015, a massive earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 2,000 and injuring more than 4,700 people. A 260-member IDF delegation was deployed to Kathmandu, Nepal where they provided search and rescue and medical services.
The delegation established a state-of-the-art, multi-department field hospital where they treated 1,600 patients, delivered eight babies, and performed 85 surgeries. In addition to medical treatment, the IDF supplied 95 tons of humanitarian aid equipment to the Nepali people.

2016-2018: Syrian Border, Golan Heights

One night, a wounded Syrian man came to the border seeking medical attention. Little did he, or the soldiers who helped him, know, that this would spark a large-scale humanitarian operation - Operation Good Neighbor.
Through this operation, the IDF provided Syrians in need with medical care, infrastructure, and civilian aid. Over 4,000 people, including 1,409 children, were treated in Israeli hospitals and field hospitals. In one such field hospital, Mazor Ladach, 6,763 people were treated.
Since its inception, the IDF provided Syrians in need with 22 generators, 40 vehicles, 281,798 gallons of fuel, 646 temporary housing units, 1,741.79 tons of food, 48,933 boxes of baby formula, 8,173 packages of diapers, 350 tons of clothing, and 14,000 hygienic products. Furthermore, the IDF supplied 2,124 containers of medicine and 25,726 boxes of medical supplies, which helped the 685 Syrian children who received medical care.

2017: Mexico City, Mexico

On September 20th, 2017, an IDF delegation of approximately 70 men and women departed for Mexico to aid in the earthquake relief efforts. Of those 70 soldiers, 25 are engineers, who helped evaluate the damage and provided assessments and assistance in the disaster zone. The timing of the mission was remarkable, in that the soldiers departed on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which is one of the holiest days of the year for Jews.

2018: Golan Heights

On July 22, 2018, the IDF carried out a special and extensive humanitarian aid operation in the 210th Division to rescue the members of the White Helmets humanitarian organization and their families. While in Syria, these humanitarian workers’ lives were threatened. IDF troops rescued them from the warzone and safely escorted them to a neighboring country.

Sniper in Gaza Kills IDF Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi

Once again, violent riots broke out on Friday, July 20th in the Gaza Strip, during which explosive devices were thrown and shots were fired at IDF troops. A platoon sergeant in the Givati Brigade, Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi, was severely injured when he was shot in the chest during a violent riot near the southern Gaza Strip. He later succumbed to his wounds. He was only 21 years old.

In response to the death of the soldier and the violence along the security fence, Israeli Air Force fighter jets conducted a wide-scale strike on Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip. This operation included airstrikes on 60 sites in three Hamas battalion headquarters located in Khan Yunis, al-Bureij, and Zaytun.

The IDF’s targets included weapon manufacturing sites, an entrance to a tunnel network, a factory used to produce materials for underground infrastructure, a UAV warehouse, military operations rooms, training facilities, and observation posts.

In addition to the violence near the security fence, three rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, setting off sirens in the Sha'ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils. While a ceasefire was agreed upon early Saturday morning, Hamas violated it when terrorists infiltrated Israel on Saturday at noon.

Since March 2018, Hamas has sent Gazan civilians to violently riot at the security fence, and the IDF has operated within the rules of engagement and done everything in its power to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty. The IDF will continue to fulfil its duty to the Israeli people and will not allow Hamas to murder Israeli soldiers, fire rockets towards Israeli cities, throw explosives, or burn Israel’s forests and farmland.


The IDF’s response to ongoing Hamas terror attacks

The Kerem Shalom Crossing will now only be open to humanitarian aid, including food and medicine that will be approved on an individual basis by COGAT. Exports and marketing of goods will no longer take place at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

The Kerem Shalom Crossing

This is in light of the ongoing arson and additional terror attacks at the hands of the terror organization, Hamas. This includes infiltration into Israel from the Gaza Strip, terror tunnels discovered leading into Israel from the Gaza Strip, including two near the Kerem Shalom Crossing, and violent riots along the security border. In addition to putting the lives of Israeli civilians at risk and breaching Israel’s sovereignty, Hamas also simultaneously exploits and endangers Gaza residents.

Additionally, the expansion of the designated fishing zone in the Gaza Strip ends today, Monday July 9. For the past three months during the fishing season, the extension increased from six to nine nautical miles. The fishing zone will be returned to six nautical miles today.

This is in response not only to the most recent terror attempts by Hamas, but also in addition to the discovery that took place on June 3 of a terror tunnel located within a Hamas military post that exited to the sea. As well, on May 29th, the Israeli Navy apprehended a Palestinian boat with approximately 17 Palestinians that attempted to breach the legal naval blockade.

The State of Israel aspires and acts to improve the living conditions of civilians in the Gaza Strip. However, the IDF has decided to take these measures due to the recent situation in which the Hamas terror organization is exploiting Gazan residents and launching arson and explosive balloons and kites towards the Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The current situation doesn’t allow the residents of southern Israel to safely maintain their daily routine. Should these severe conditions continue, IDF measures will persist and intensify.

The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all activities occurring within the Gaza Strip and the consequences that follow, including the suffering Gazans experience. The IDF will continue to operate as necessary to defend the State of Israel.

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Chief of the General Staff, Memorial Day Message

In these moments we stand together, bowing our heads in awe, remembering our common and unifying destiny - the common destiny for which our brothers and sisters, the fallen soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces throughout the generations, have despaired.

In their lives, the fallen acted for the same purpose - ensuring the security of the state and its inhabitants. From the moment they were drafted into the ranks of the IDF, they devoted their full energies to fulfilling their duty to their people, and in their death the fallen left us a legacy and a will: to be a protector of the people and hold the sword for his freedom in his country.

The legacy of the fallen forces us to adhere to the values ​​they adopted in their lives: a path of heroism and courage; A way of responsibility and dedication; A path of mission and belief in our righteousness, the righteousness of the way. The values ​​that struck the heart of the fallen are the secret of the strength of the Israel Defense Forces today. The spirit of the IDF is the common language of our ministry.

The will of the fallen forces us to act in constant partnership and to be evil to one another - as stated in Isaiah's vision: "Help each other and his brothers will say: Strong!" - and to combine our forces with the recognition that our goal is one: we all wear uniforms, we all hold arms - and work together for the security of the state.

Sixty-nine years have passed since the State of Israel, and the road is not over. In the past year, too, we have faced the terror that sought to harm the Israeli home front, and against which our soldiers and commanders acted with determination and ensured the security and sense of security of the citizens and residents of the state.

In the face of any enemy that seeks to harm Israel's security, the IDF commander and his soldiers stand ready to defend and win, and only if we strive to improve our preparedness and readiness for the day of command will we act with a multi-pronged combination. The purpose of the IDF.

Commanders and soldiers,

In their deaths, the fallen gave us another order - to stand with their families and accompany them in the journey of life after the loss, a journey that began on the day the candle of their life was extinguished. It is our duty, throughout the year, to continue to support them and to send a brotherly embrace to ease the pain as much as possible. Today we will also remember the missing IDF soldiers and the fallen soldiers whose burial place is unknown and pray that the children will return to their borders.

Tomorrow, when the flags of the State are raised to the top of the flag in honor of Israel's 59th Independence Day, we will remember the challenges and victories that the IDF has recorded throughout its years, recalling the struggle that began in the War of Independence. Our brothers are souls.

 May the memory of the fallen be blessed!
Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot
Chief of the General Staff

Fellowship and FIDF Provide $1.5M in Passover Gift Cards to IDF Soldiers

This year’s ‘Passover Fellowship Gift Cards’ support over 12,500 IDF soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers

JERUSALEM,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with Yachad Lema’an Hachayal, are providing “Fellowship Gift Cards” to over 12,500 soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so they can celebrate the Passover holiday without financial worries.

The vast majority of eligible soldiers will be receiving a gift card in the amount of NIS 500, or about $130, and about 2,500 soldiers are eligible for a gift card of NIS 350, or about $100. Soldiers will be able to purchase supplies such as food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure items.

The Fellowship and FIDF distribute “Fellowship Gift Cards” twice a year, during the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier. FIDF and The Fellowship have been teaming up to deliver the holiday gift cards since 2009.

World Jewish Congress launches petition to ICRC demanding Hamas return bodies of IDF soldiers

NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress has launched a petition asking the International Committee of the Red Cross to press Hamas to return the bodies of IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, and Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, 20, who were killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.

“The World Jewish Congress is calling upon the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to act on its stated mission to ensure ‘humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence’ and help bring these brave young men home to Israel for proper burial,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “Burying one’s dead is a humanitarian right and a religious right, and the rights of the Shaul and Goldin families remain violated. Please join the World Jewish Congress in calling on the ICRC to use all available diplomatic channels to right this egregious wrong. There is strength in our unity."

Shaul was killed on July 20, 2014 when he left his armored personnel carrier to repair the vehicle when Hamas fired on his unit and took him prisoner. On August 1, 2014, Hamas kidnapped Goldin, 23, following a deadly ambush in southern Gaza. The attack came an hour and a half into an agreed upon humanitarian ceasefire which had been brokered by then US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The IDF has determined that both soldiers were killed in action, but nearly three years have gone by and their bodies have not yet been returned. The Shaul and Goldin families remain in an unresolved state, unable to give their sons proper burials in Israel.

The petition, which has already received nearly 1,000 signatures, will be delivered to ICRC President, Peter Maurer. Click here to sign 

Young Leaders from Across US Will Visit Israel to Meet IDF Soldiers

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership Mission to Israel July 1-9

NEW YORK,  More than 20 young leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from all walks of life, representing communities from across the U.S., will join the FIDF Young Leadership (YL) Mission to Israel next month to show their appreciation for the brave men and women of the IDF.

The mission, taking place July 1-9, will bring members of FIDF’s Young Leadership Division together with the soldiers of the IDF. Mission participants will receive in-depth briefings by military officers, tour strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experience Israel – from the mystical Safed to the beaches of Tel Aviv – in an entirely new way. The group of FIDF leaders will hear firsthand from the men and women of the co-ed Lions of Jordan battalion, meet the combat soldiers who stand watch over Israel’s border with Gaza, tour an Israeli Air Force Base and get an overview of the different aircraft that protect Israel’s skies, and visit many of Israel’s historic sites.

Joining the FIDF YL Mission will be FIDF Tri-State Development Associate Carly Billig and FIDF Mid-Atlantic Development Associate Rona Kassem.

“This Young Leadership Mission allows our young FIDF supporters to connect with the courageous soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to defend the Jewish State and the Jewish people,” said Billig. “We are looking forward to this incredible opportunity to see Israel in a whole new way and to learning how we can do more to support the well-being of Israel’s soldiers.”


IDF celebrates 68 years of Israel’s independence

Units throughout the IDF will held a variety of celebratory and educational events to celebrate Israel's 68th Independence Day, many of them will be open to the public

The IDF celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, May 12, by holding a variety of celebratory and educational events, many of which will be open to the public.

In honor of the holiday, private citizens are invited to visit many IDF bases throughout Israel. Bases of the various commands will held exhibitions featuring their vehicles and other technology. Additionally, the Ground Forces will display its different branches and the technologies they use - including tanks, artillery and camouflage means – in a multi-corps exhibition at the historic site of Latrun.

The Israel Air Force will wish Israel a happy Independence Day with its traditional fly-over on Tursday, May 12. The event, will take place from 10:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., featured F-16, F-16i, and F-15i fighter jets, as well as transport planes and helicopters. The aircraft flew over Israel’s largest cities, as well as many smaller communities.

Additionally, the IAF will open several of its main bases to the public. The Hatzerim, Ramat David and Tel Nof airbases and the Air Force’s technical school held presentations featuring a variety of aircraft used by the IAF in the past and in the present. The Air Force will display some of its weaponry and search and rescue equipment.

The Air Force Museum at Hatzerim (near Beer Sheva) will be opene, holding demonstration flights of aircraft from the 1950s, a concert of the Air Force’s band and a presentation of 150 aircraft from throughout the history of the IAF. The museum will feature a variety of activities for children.

The Navy also will open its Eilat base to the public in honor of Independence Day. An exhibition there will feature various ground and maritime forces that operate in southern Israel, including Magen David Adom as well as military and police forces. The Navy’s base in Haifa will screene movies on the history of immigration to pre-state Israel during the British Mandate, as well as films about its various seacraft.

New York Delegation attends FIDF National Gala

1,200 prominent leaders from across the U.S. and Israel gather for annual New York City event

New York, A select delegation from the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New York Young Leadership Division attended the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner at New York’s landmark Waldorf Astoria tonight, where head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevi said, in the gala’s keynote address, that Israel must be “prepared” on its northern border with Syria.

“Syria has long ceased to be the state we all knew four years ago. We call it ‘50 Shades of Black,’ though I must admit I haven’t read the ‘grey’ version. One needs to take only a glimpse at their inner executions to understand why we must be prepared in the northern border.”

The head of IDF intelligence also said that the so-called Arab Spring has turned into a wider religious war redrawing the Middle East. “The maps of our area have been changing in front of our eyes. Borders drawn more than a century ago are being recklessly erased. The upheaval in the Middle East has turned into a religious struggle among armed factions,” said Halevi.

Among the delegation members were FIDF National Young Leadership Director Dan Haskell; FIDF New York Young Leadership Chairman Jane Oster; FIDF New York Young Leadership President Lemor Bar-Or; and FIDF New York Young Leadership Vice President Stefanie Cohen.

More than 1,200 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered for the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner, demonstrating their love and support for FIDF and for the men and women who serve to protect the State of Israel.

FIDF National Board Member Rabbi Peter Weintraub served as Dinner Chairman. Weintraub, who specializes in rabbinic outreach, has been an avid FIDF supporter for 12 years and has sponsored academic scholarships for over 70 IDF combat veterans through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

“Over the dozen years that I’ve been involved in FIDF, I’ve been privileged to see how this organization makes a powerful difference in the lives of the brave men and women who defend and protect Israel – and the Jewish People,” said Rabbi Weintraub. “This Gala provided a wonderful, stirring opportunity for us to say thanks, and to stand proudly with them.”

Special guests included 30 IDF soldiers of various ranks and military units, including 2nd Lt. Enbal Grintzvaig, an educational officer in the Artillery Corps, whose brother, 1st Sgt. Avi Grintzvaig, z”l, was shot and killed in Bet Hanoun, near Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. Addressing the audience, 2nd Lt. Enbal shared her personal memories of her brother, who posthumously received a citation for his bravery. Most of the soldiers who attended the Gala received citations for heroism, including in Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, greeted the audience via satellite, and thanked them for their invaluable support for Israel’s soldiers.

Funds raised at the gala will provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to former combat soldiers, financial support for underprivileged soldiers and Lone Soldiers from around the world, crucial aid for wounded veterans, weeks of rest and recreation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening was a rare and exclusive opportunity to pay tribute to the State of Israel and the brave men and women in uniform. In 2014, for the first time in its history, FIDF raised over $100 million for the wellbeing of Israeli soldiers.

Distinguished guests included the author and nationally syndicated radio host, Dr. Monica Crowley, who served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies; IDF’s 19th Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the U.S. and Canada Maj. Gen. Yaacob Ayish; and Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni.

Other prominent guests included FIDF National Chairman Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Rabbi Weintraub and his wife, Ellen; FIDF Chairmen Emeritus Arthur Stark, Larry Hochberg, and Marvin Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO Emeritus Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; and FIDF National Board Member and YL-NY President Emeritus Tony Felzen.


IDF Hosts Multinational Conference on Contemporary Armed Conflicts

For three days the IDF hosted a conference to discuss international law in contemporary armed conflicts with participants from across the globe. The international group – composed of military lawyers, experts in the field of military law, and legal advisors to international organizations – discussed operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts.

Asymmetric warfare, urban fighting, and an undefined enemy are some of the most pressing challenges in modern-day conflict. These issues are a common challenge faced by the militaries of different democratic nations engaged in conflict in different parts of the world.

To address these issues and discuss possible solutions, the IDF hosted its first International Legal Conference on International Law in Contemporary Armed Conflicts, led by the IDF Chief Military Advocate General, Maj. Gen. Dan Efroni.

Held over three days, the conference facilitated discussion between the participants about the challenges of modern armed conflicts and included a visit to Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip. About 700 individuals participated in the conference, including military lawyers from a collage of different nations.

“The objective of the conference is to shed light on the operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts,” stated Maj. Gen. Efroni. “We will focus primarily on the core issues that arise before, during, and after armed combat in densely populated areas and illustrate them through first-hand experiences.”

During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF faced many of the challenges discussed during the conference and worked hard to limit civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

“There is no substitute for Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) as they represent basic values of any civilized nation when engaged in armed conflicts,” Maj. Gen. Efroni asserted. “As a military of a democratic state we are unequivocally obligated to the rule of law and consequently to LOAC. There is no substitute for LOAC as they represent basic values of any civilized nation when engaged in armed conflicts.”
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