As the world's most moral army, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) not only protect and serve the people of Israel, but the rest of the world, as well. Be it a catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines or a devastating earthquake in Nepal, the men and women of the IDF are there to help. Since neighboring Syria's civil war began, Israel has treated nearly 3,000 wounded Syrians. At the IDF's blog, an Israeli paramedic tells of his experiences aiding the injured:
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Cpl. Yoad: The hardest thing for me is seeing wounded children. There was a whole family that was hurt – a mother, a son, and a little girl. They were all in critical condition. The mother suffered a terrible stomach injury, and so did her daughter – her intestines were sticking out. The son needed a respirator and was unconscious with a head injury. From the translator, we learned that a missile hit their home. We laid the little girl down next to her mother and brother, treated them, and the mother and daughter were sent to one hospital and the son to another.
It was so hard for them to be separated, and for the little girl to see her mother in that condition. It’s not always easy to see these things, and it’s not easy to keep a clear head all the time. When the work gets to me, I talk to the other paramedics, and we lift each other up. It really helps.
How does it differ from being a first responder in Magen David Adom (MADA), Israel’s emergency medical service?
There’s a difference between seeing the wounded people that you see in MADA and the conditions that Syrian casualties arrive in. In MADA, the wounds are fresh – traffic accidents, bad falls – that’s one thing. The Syrians are traveling for miles from a warzone – treating them is completely different. In MADA, the injuries occurred ten, fifteen, twenty minutes ago, tops. With the Syrians who come for help, it could have happened two hours ago, and you’re trying to keep him alive and conscious. People come in with terrible wounds. It’s a completely different situation from MADA.
Syria and Israel are enemy countries. What would you say to people who think you’re treating your enemy?
Anyone who thinks that can go to a hospital, open a door to room, and see an injured Syrian two-year-old. When they see the patients themselves, they start to see it differently. It’s easy to say things, but the minute they see the actual people we’re treating, it becomes another situation. These people aren’t our enemies...