Prior to the Syrian civil war, the border with Israel was relatively quiet, with a small UN peacekeeping unit nestled in a buffer zone between the two. It was one of Israel’s most peaceful borders.
After war broke out, rebels fled many parts of Syria and gathered in areas near the Israeli border. Gradually, Assad’s forces pressed in, making life very isolated and difficult for Syrians living inside Syria, but on the border with Israel.
So, in 2016, the Israeli Defense Forces made a bold decision to launch Operation Good Neighbor, providing humanitarian and medical aid to Syrians in need. Tons and tons of good were shipped into Syria over the past couple years, medical teams were escorted deep into Syria under cover of night, and hundreds were treated in emergency rooms set up on the border. Some were even transported to Israeli hospitals where they were treated at no cost.
But recently, Assad’s forces conquered the rebels in southern Syria, and now control the very areas that were benefiting from Israeli aid at the border. Operation Good Neighbor has run its course.
However, OGN certainly left a positive mark on the Syrians they served. One Syrian said:
“I wish you all the best, and I thank you very much for your help and for supporting us. In God’s name, this deed will not be forgotten, and we will teach our children of what you have done.”
What an incredible witness to the world of God’s grace and goodness shown through His chosen people. As we say farewell to this marvelous mission, let’s take a look back at the work of the IDF: