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Current National Situation routine

Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit

“Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world”( Sanhedrin)

The Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit is a special unit comprised of volunteer IDF reservists serving under the Home Front Command designated for search and rescue operations in Israel and the world.

The SAR unit serves as a unit prepared for any conventional disaster or occurrence, such as natural disasters, in Israel and throughout the world at all times, whenever needed. SAR leads in its field in professional knowhow, constant availability and determination to save lives at all times and in every place. SAR and it’s officers are directly subordinate to The Home Front Command.

“Since the establishment of the national Search and Rescue Unit in 1984, following the 1st  and 2nd Zor disasters, SAR has become a high quality and a professional unit, with immediate availability, in treatment and assistance, as a response team to events and disasters in Israel and around the world. SAR has displayed its special skills and abilities in numerous events in the country and outside it over the years and has succeeded in representing The Home Front Command, the IDF, as well as the State of Israel, with the credit for saving many lives of victims of disasters.

The work of the soldiers and officers of the unit express the value of giving, mutual aid and dedication by their willingness to volunteer to serve in the unit, ready to be called up at any given moment, even to endanger their lives in order to save the lives of others”.

Col. Ramtin Sabati
SAR Commander, The Home Front Command

The national Search and Rescue unit was established in 1984, as the result of the Zor disaster in Sidon, by the late Colonel Gabriel Rappaport (Gavrush), with the approval of the then
Chief of Staff, the late Lieutenant General Refael Eitan (Raful).

The purpose of the Unit’s establishment was to fulfill the need for an implementing force for search and rescue in times of natural disasters in Israel and abroad, during routine times and in emergencies. The main expertise of SAR is the excavation of people trapped in the rubble of buildings and installations.

- 1984

Colonel Gabriel Rappaport (Gavrush) – Zor Diaster 1 and 2, Mexico

1992 - 1988

Colonel Moshe Galili – Armenia, 1st Gulf War

2000- 1992

Colonel Udi Ben Ori – Argentina, Kenya, Turkey, Greece

2007- 2000

Colonel Gideon Bar-On - Versailles wedding hall, India, Kenya, Tel Aviv, Taba, Revidim Train Wreck
2012- 2007

Brigadir General Shalom  Ben Arie – Kenya, Turkey, Greece, 2 Train wrecks in India.

2012 ועד היום

Col. Ramtin Sabati – The Philippines, super typhoon Haiyan

 1.    During routine times, to be in readiness

2.    To command the delegations overseas – different delegations:

·         Search and Rescue

·         Humanitarian help

·         Medical assistance – Field Hospital

3.    To serve as Head Quarters in special missions.

Past Operations

Since its formation, the unit has operated both in Israel and abroad:

1984 – Zor
1984 – Mexico
1988 – Armenia (earthquake)
1994 – Argentina (bombing of the Jewish Community Center)
1998 – Nairobi, Kenya (bombing of the American Embassy)
1999 – Turkey (earthquake)
1999 – Greece (earthquake)
1999 – Turkey (earthquake)
1999 – Turkey (earthquake)
2001 – Jerusalem, Israel (Collapse of
Versailles wedding hall)
2001 – India (earthquake)
2002 – Mombasa, Kenya
2003 – Tel Aviv, Israel (gas
cylinder explosion_
2004 – Taba, Egypt (car bomb)
2005 – Revidim, Israel (train wreck)
2006 – Kenya (Collapse of a building)
2008 – Mumbai, India (earthquake)
2010 – Haiti  (earthquake)
2010 – Columbia (Humanitarian assistance)
2011 – Japan (Medical assistance, earthquake)
2012 – Bulgaria (Terrorist attack in bus in Burgas)
2012 – Ghana (Collapse of a building)
2013 – Phillipines (

SAR in Kenya, August 1998

On August 7, 1998, the American Embassies in Kenya and in Tanzania were attacked by terrorists using cars filled with explosives. IDF offered sending a delegation to assist in Search and Rescue to Nairobi, Kenya.



SAR in Turkey, August 1999

On Tuesday, August 17, 1999, at 3:00 in the morning, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Turkey. The epicenter was in the city of “Izmit”, 100 kilometers from Instanbul. The earthquake hit 8 main cities: Instanbul, Izmit, Gölcük, Bolu, Bursa, Adapazarı, Yalova, and Çınarcık.

SAR in a disaster in Jerusalem, May 2001

1.    On Thursday, May 24, 2001, at 22:45 in the evening, a 4-floor building collapsed,
Versailles wedding hall in the Talpiyot neighborhood, in Jerusalem.

2.    On the 4th floor of the building a wedding with 650 guests was taking place.

3.    351 people fell through the opening and down the 4 floors.

4.    The responsibility for the disaster was transferred from the police to The Home Front Command at 00:10 that night.