IDF Aid Through the Years | IFCJ
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IDF Aid Through the Years

IDF rescue mission in Buenos Aires, 1994 (Photo: flickr/IDF)

The Israeli military's mission is to value human life and to help those in need. The IDF takes us on a historical tour of this mission, which has saved thousands of lives in the seven decades of its existence:

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...

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