Since the civil war began over six years ago in Syria, Israel has been treating the wounded from the other side of the border. The injured are first placed in the hands of the IDF’s “Good Neighbors” unit, where they receive primary care and supplies like food, clothing and medication. They are then transferred to various hospitals in northern Israel for medical treatment.
Watch: Syria’s wounded are treated by the IDF’s “Good Neighbors” unit
Israel’s heartwarming aid to wounded Syrians: Over the past six years, while the bloody civil war in Syria has taken the lives of over 450,000 Syrians, countless injured Syrian civilians have traveled to the border to receive treatment in Israel. Many of them arrive in serious condition- infants and and women among them- having endured injuries from bombs, aerial attacks and close range battles.
A year ago, the IDF established a special unit called “Good Neighbors,” which provides assistance to wounded Syrians being transferred to Israel for treatment. The IDF realized that aiding Israel’s hitherto hostile neighbor can create a sense of understanding and a connection with the civilian population in Syria in the hopes that it will curb terror in the area and prevent terrorist attacks from Syria. Identifying what could be a great opportunity, the IDF decided to establish a mechanism that would assist local residents of the Syrian Golan Heights.
Though the wounded who reach the border do hope to benefit from Israel’s quality medical care, they also fear crossing the border into the territory of an enemy state. In most cases, however, once they are treated by the unit’s highly trained and compassionate personnel, they have a change of heart.
“Israel is the only country that has done such a thing for the Syrians” said one of the wounded who was brought to Israel from Syria. “Israel is a friend to the Syrian people, a humane state.” Another injured woman said that “we are taught that Israel is the country that hates us the most. We came and saw with our own eyes what they are giving us here. Israel is everything for us because of all that it has given us.”
“The people of Israel have won our love,” said another Syrian evacuee to Israel. “In this difficult situation, only Israel has stood by us, helped us with everything we needed. We very much respect the people of Israel.” One of the young Syrian girls being treated in an Israeli hospital added that “the Israelis are taking care of me and I want to thank them. The situation in Syria is very bad. I love Israel very much and wish that I could be there.”