In a day and age where Israeli soldiers are consistently vilified and painted as oppressors of the Palestinian people, precious few — if any — mainstream media reports ever highlight the extraordinary efforts Israeli soldiers take to aid those bent on their destruction. Case in point: Just Tuesday, members of the IDF’s haredi (ultra-orthodox) battalion, Netzah Yehuda, rescued three Palestinian men from the Nablus River after their car had been stranded, the driver and passengers trapped amidst the quickly intensifying current.
Footage of the heroic rescue and details of the incident were published by the Israeli news source, Ynet. According to the report, Tuesday’s storm was too severe for helicopter intervention, but with quick-thinking the battalion commander spotted a Palestinian’s tractor and leapt aboard, driving toward the drowning men. He was able to rescue three men, but, according to Ynet, a fourth man known to have also been trapped was not found.
More incredible still, as the tractor turned to leave the flooded area, the asphalt began collapsing. Nonetheless, the Israeli soldier found safe ground and was able to deliver the Palestinian men to safety. Members of the battalion administered medical treatment at the scene.
Watch the incredible rescue footage below:
This was not the first nor last rescue operation Netzah Yehuda conducted this week. Ynet reports that the IDF soldiers also rescued 33 people, 30 of whom were trapped in a bus. In many of the rescue efforts, it was noted that members of the orthodox battalion worked in tandem with the Palestinian Authority’s rescue forces.
In addition to Nezah Yehuda is unit 669, the Israeli Air Force’s dedicated search and rescue division, which also preformed incredible feats this week. In yet another mission, Israeli soldiers operating the unit’s helicopter rescued eight members — including children — of a Palestinian family trapped in their home.
“As we flew closer,” the helicopter pilot recalled, “we noticed high voltage lines.” Ynet reports that the Israelis were guided by ground forces to find safe passage as they wove between dangerous power lines in the stormy weather conditions.
“When we were just above the family, soldiers slid down ropes to the roof.”
In the end, the Israeli soldiers managed to successful save all eight family members.
“The soldiers reached the family and reported via radio that they were with eight people, including children. One by one we cast down more ropes and started pulling people up into the helicopter. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get everyone into the helicopter. From there we flew directly to Beilinson [medical center in Petah Tikva],” the pilot said.
You can watch additional footage courtesy of Ynet: