Daily Israel Report

'Settlers' Among the First to Respond to Philippines Typhoon

Hatzalah YOSH among first organizations arriving in Philippines to save lives following typhoon Haiyan's destruction.
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 8:33 AM

The Hatzalah YOSH organization, established to provide emergency medical treatment in Judea and Samaria (sometimes referred to as the "West Bank"), was among the first to arrive in the Philippines and save lives following the typhoon Haiyan natural disaster.

Video from the Judea and Samaria-based rescue mission in the Philippines shows the group's activities in the devastated landscape:

Aryeh Levi, a medic with Hatzalah YOSH and manager of "Rescuers Without Borders," spoke to Arutz Sheva about his organization's rescue efforts. While Levi has been at many disaster scenes, he described how hard it was to see corpses at the sides of the roads in the Philippines 4 or 5 days after the typhoon.

According to Levi his organization received a warm welcome. He reports that the people of the Philippines love Jews and Israel, and that despite the scope of the disaster which wiped out a city, the people showed hope and focused on the future.

One story Levi relates concerns a child with two broken bones in his leg that needed hospital treatment. The child was brought to them after being turned away from a full hospital. The Israelis went to the hospital saying "if we traveled so far from Israel you can make the efforts to find a space and treat this child." The hospital agreed and the child was saved from life-threatening danger.

Hatzalah YOSH originally operated only in Judea and Samaria, but in 2005 on the instructions of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu z''tl a delegation was sent to save lives in Sri Lanka following the typhoon there.

Levi notes that the world media focused on them in Sri Lanka, and that following that operation, "Rescuers Without Borders" was founded to provide emergency medical treatment worldwide. The organization has over 500 volunteer rescuers as stated on its website.

After the initial response in the Philippines, "Rescuers Without Borders" is now sending a group of 5 to set up a branch in the city of Ormoc to provide more long term care including psychological treatment.