Staff sergeant Bar, 21, an IDF paramedic who serves on the border with Syria, spoke to the participants at the FIDF event in Manhattan.

"Every night the IDF soldiers risk their lives to help Syrians cross the border to be treated in Israel," he said. "Every day I put on my scrubs over my uniform and face the very best of humanity and the very worst.

"The worst is easy to see in Syria's civil war: brutal, pointless, heartless. Even for someone like me, who sees the damage done to soldiers every day, it's still like a fresh wound to have to see the pain and fear in the faces of innocent men and women – and worst of all, children."

Bar told the story of a four-month-old baby whom he was about to treat when the baby's mother tried to stop him from touching him, because she feared that as an Israeli, he would hurt him.

In the end, he was able to operate on the baby successfully.

"This is what Operation Good Neighbor does," explained Bar. "It turns hateful into grateful, and it turns enemies into heroes, into friends, one patient at a time."