“In Israel’s South, both the IDF and Soroka are on the front lines. We are defending the country with our bodies and with our lives, and Soroka is backing us up, treating us if injury befalls us or innocent civilians” –Major General, IDF Southern Command
Much of the IDF is based in the South of the country – the wide open areas allow for soldier and officer training, and strategic command bases. Soroka has become more than even a strategic asset for the State of Israel, by providing medical support and services to hundreds of thousands of soldiers, both day to day and in times of conflict.
During the January 2009 war in Gaza and since, Soroka has cared for soldiers and for civilian victims of Qassam rocket attacks. In the Gaza war, Soroka treated more than 200 wounded soldiers and 300 civilian victims of rocket attacks. At a time of war, Soroka stood as pillar of support and stability for Israel. In a country where it’s hard to find two people who agree on anything, 93% of the Israeli public told pollsters that they admired and had great respect for Soroka’s efforts during the war.
The support that donors and volunteers play in times of war is key. Not long ago, a group of American rabbis came to visit Soroka Hospital, spending time comforting victims of rocket attacks from Gaza. Just as the group was getting ready to leave, the bomb sirens went off. Everyone scurried to the hospital bomb shelter, which was filled with patients, doctors and staff. Everyone was frightened. Without hesitation, one of the rabbis pulled out his guitar and began to play “Am Yisrael Chai” (The people of Israel live). The walls of the shelter resonated with voices of hope. Everyone joined in, including soldiers and Jewish and Bedouin civilians. Within 10 minutes, the entire group was singing and dancing in Soroka’s bomb shelter.
Check out this video on Soroka at war: