IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov with Lt. Col. Shlomo HaCohen and Major Menachem
IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov with Lt. Col. Shlomo HaCohen and Major Menachem IDU Public Relations

The head of the development department of the IDF’s Home Front Command (HFC), Lt. Col. Shlomo HaCohen, accompanied by Major Menachem Friedman from the HFC’s technological expertise department, toured the Israel Dog Unit’s (IDU) base in the town of Kfar Tapuach in the Samaria region. The IDU is a nonprofit specializing in search and rescue. The tour was held with the intent of exploring the IDU’s willingness and capacity to be integrated into a national response to a seismic event causing multiple structural collapses, with numerous victims trapped under the rubble.

Israel’s eastern border sits on the Great Rift Valley, a major fault line extending through multiple continents. A geological study conducted by Tel Aviv University researchers found that the region is susceptible to major tremors approximately once every one to one and a half centuries. The last such quake, in 1927, killed hundreds of people on both sides of the Jordan river.

“The geological record does not lie and a major earthquake in Israel will come,” said Prof. Shmuel Marco, head of Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, in a statement to the Times of Israel. “Of course, we have no way of predicting exactly when the earth will shake under our feet — this is a statistical projection — but unfortunately, I can say that an earthquake that will cause hundreds of casualties will hit in the coming years,” Marco continued. “I don’t want to cause alarm, but we are living in a tectonically active period. It could be in ten years or in several decades, but it could also be next week, and we need to constantly be prepared for that,” he said.

In such an event, the HFC would be responsible for leading Israel’s national response and coordinating the various emergency forces’ attempts to find and rescue as many victims from the resulting rubble as possible, and with the greatest possible speed.

IDU trains for earthquake rescue
IDU trains for earthquake rescue Israel Dog Unit Spokesman

IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Ya'akov, commented: 'We have been working for years to train as many dogs, handlers, and independent municipal response teams as possible, in cooperation with cities and councils throughout Israel, in order to provide an initial and effective response to locate and rescue trapped people, if necessary. We will continue to emphasize the preparation of as many well-trained teams and dogs as possible to respond to such events, along with the more frequent activity of searching for missing persons.”

Major Menachem Friedman expressed his appreciation for the IDU’s dedication.

IDU trains for earthquake rescue
IDU trains for earthquake rescue Israel Dog Unit Spokesman