“Operation Good Neighbor” Comes to an End

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:

 

Fatemeh’s Story: An Iranian Tragedy

What is life like in Iran?

Today, with the help of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I want to give you some insight.  Find out what life is like through the eyes of 15-year-old Fatemeh:

Beyond simply unveiling the reality of what life is like for many Iranians, my point is this: On every front, Israel is reaching out to her enemies to free the people of oppressive regimes.  Here is what you need to know about Israel and her enemies:

  • Iran, Israel’s single greatest enemy, is experiencing terrible drought conditions, yet Israel (the world’s #1 recycler of water) offered to help.  Unfortunately, the Iranian regime rejected help and said, “Mind your own business!”  So, Israel got creative and launched a website (in Farsi, Iran’s native language), accessible directly by the Iranian people, which provides tips on how to conserve water, recycle waste water and improve water usage for crops!
  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and his tyrannical dictatorship plunged Syria into a multidimensional civil war that has absolutely crushed the citizens of Syria.  So, in 2013 the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began treating ill and wounded Syrian citizens at field hospitals set up on the border.  That developed into Operation Good Neighbor in 2016, a multi-faceted humanitarian relief effort to provide food, medical care and daily living supplies to citizens inside Syria.  More recently, partners such as Frontier Alliance International have joined forces with the IDF to provide specialized medical aid deep within Syrian territory.
  • Recently, the IDF has promoted #FreeGazaFromHamas, tearing away the veil to reveal what is really going on in Gaza.  Here is one of their videos:

Israel seems to understand the difference between dictatorial regimes and the oppressed citizens those regimes control.  Responses from those citizens are amazing, as they acknowledge and thank Israelis.  Love and care are much more powerful than political solutions, so let’s pray that efforts to befriend and assist citizens in “enemy nations” build important bridges of peace.

The Heart of Israelis for Syrians on the Golan Heights

Photo courtesy of Golan Regional Council

Shabbat Shalom, friends!  Let’s enjoy a “feel good” story as we move into the weekend.

The secret of who has been supplying some of the aid to Syria is out of the bag!  As you may know, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Good Neighbor, a humanitarian initiative to help Syrians, in June 2016.  Since then, 1,524 tons of food, 947,520 liters of fuel, 7,933 diaper packages, 54 tons of baby food, 24,900 boxes of medicine and medical equipment, 775 medical equipment units, 250 tons of clothing, 13,920 hygienic products, and more than 300 tents have been provided to Syrians living under the oppressive Assad regime.  That’s a lot of tikkun olam!

But where did all the aid come from?  Yes, we know the IDF has played a huge role in delivering it, but did you know those items have, for the most part, been donated by Israelis?

There are likely other groups that contribute to the cause, but one such organization was recently uncovered.  Israeli Flying Aid has provided goods to Syrians for years, and their story is inspiring.  Take a few moments to read the heartwarming account of their love, acceptance and generosity toward Syrians in need.

Israeli Residents Go Public with Heartfelt Aid to Syrians

Blessings friends…and may we all embrace the idea of loving our enemies

IDF Continues Providing Aid to Syrians in Need

IDF gives urgent treatment to Syria refugees, June 30, 2018.

IDF gives urgent treatment to Syria refugees, June 30, 2018.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

Following initial shipments of humanitarian aid on Thursday night, the IDF provided life-saving treatment in the field, then transported six wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals earlier today.  Four of the six were children, and their families had been killed in bombardments by the Syrian regime.

According to The Jerusalem Post:

The IDF has been providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to Syrians in the Golan Heights as part of Operation Good Neighbors launched in June 2016, providing among other things 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, 21 generators, 24,900 palettes of medical equipment and medicine all while maintaining the principle of non-involvement in the Syrian civil war.

In addition, over 4,800 wounded men, women and children entered the country since 2013. Over 1,300 sick children have been admitted to specialist clinics in Israel since 2016 and some 6,000 patients have been treated in the “Mazor Ladach” field clinic set up by the IDF and run by an international aid organization in the southern Golan Heights since it opened in August 2017.

Israel continues to be the shining light in a very dark region.  Continue to pray God’s blessings upon them.  But also be mindful to pray for the people of Syria who live under an evil, oppressive regime.

As God works out His sovereign plan in that region, enemy opposition rises.  We’re watching the Lord set the stage for what is to come in the end, so let’s diligently be about our Father’s business!