Search and rescue conference hosted by IDF reservists this week

The fourth annual international medical conference (IsCream) focusing on combat airborne evacuation and treatment will be held Thursday in the central Israeli city of Rishon Leztion.

The one-day conference will be held at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion, south of Tel Aviv, and is packed with speeches and discussions on pre-hospital medicine, pre-hospital medical management, and interactions between different rescue corps.

The conference will also present an overview of the medical studies that are expected to be carried out on an upcoming flight into space in which Israeli Eytan Stibbe will be a part and will discuss the medical challenges of flying into space.

The ethics of dealing with multi-casualty incidents in which enemy forces are also injured will also be discussed at the conference. The author of the Israeli army code of ethics, Professor Asa Kasher, will lead the discussion looking at the 2010 Mavi Marama incident. Two doctors who served in IDF rescue unit 669 and participated in the raid will also participate in the discussion.

“There is a lot of experience on the part of the students,” said Dr. Gil Hirschhorn, deputy director of HaEmek Medical Center and former commander of the Israel Air Force Medical Corps.

The unique conference will allow participants to share their knowledge and learn from 669 alumni.

Hirschhorn, who is the president of the conference, said The Jerusalem Post that the conference did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that most of the participants were busy treating those who had contracted the virus.

With the fourth wave subsided, the conference will also discuss medical technology that was developed to assist medical professionals during the pandemic, such as monitoring patients from afar.

Hirschhorn said 350 people are expected to participate in the conference, including IDF officers, medical students in the army, unit reservists, and representatives from numerous rescue services in Israel such as Magen David Adom, United Hazolah and others.

“One of the points of the conference is that people mix, and the participants have not known each other for two years. Now that the fourth wave is over, we can hold the conference knowing that people will be safe and able to come together. “

The conference is organized by the “Cat” alumni association that works as a link between all veterans of the unit to maximize the impact of the human capital embodied in them for the good of themselves, the unit and society.

The non-profit alumni association also conducts courses to train Israelis in proper procedures for medical emergencies, both while traveling in Israel and abroad, and works to increase motivation for meaningful service among young Israelis and to honor to the fallen soldiers of the unit.

The elite IDF Airborne Combat, Search and Rescue Unit 669 is one of four IDF special forces with only 30 graduates of the 18-month course of 1,200 cadets being tested for the unit. During the course, soldiers are trained in combat medicine, skydiving, diving, counterterrorism, rappelling, harsh rescue, navigation, and commanders course. Soldiers in Unit 669 sign up for an additional 16 months of service in addition to the mandatory 30 months.

In the 40 years since the unit was formed, it has rescued more than 10,000 people across Israel and the world, and has received several accolades from IDF chiefs of staff for its work.

Formed in 1974 after the Yom Kippur War and initially tasked with extracting Israeli pilots who were shot down in enemy territory, it then began undertaking rescue missions for Special Forces soldiers, as well as wounded or stranded Israelis, both in the country and abroad.

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