The Home Front Command (Hebrew: פיקוד העורף, Pikud HaOref) is an Israel Defense Forces regional command, created in February 1992 following the Gulf War, which was the first war since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War in which centers of civilian population faced significant threat. The command is responsible for civil defense: preparing the civilian population for a conflict or disaster, assisting the population during the crisis, and contributing to post-crisis reconstruction.
Until the establishment of the Command, responsibility for the Home Front fell under the Civilian Defense's Chief Officer Corps Command and under Regional Defense. During that time, the three regional commands had their own home front commands. After the first Persian Gulf War, these organizations were unified and the Home Front Command was created. It is currently headed by Aluf Uri Gordin.
This unit should not be confused with Unit 669. The Home Front Command includes a domestic search and rescue unit, primarily operating in times of natural disasters, while Unit 669 is the Israeli Air Force's Tactical Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) unit that operates behind enemy lines.
Albanian earthquake relief assistanceEdit
On 26 November 2019, an earthquake struck the Durrës region of Albania, killing 51 people, injuring 3,000 others, and damaging 11,000 buildings. Israel sent Home Front Command military engineer troops and a rescue and service team from the regional council of Mevo'ot HaHermon to Albania to search through the rubble for survivors and rescue them, assess whether buildings were structurally sound, and provide Albanians who had been evacuated from their homes with waterproof tents to shelter them. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote: "We stand with our Albanian friends during this difficult time, and will continue to assist them in any way we can." On 23 January 2020, Albanian President Ilir Meta met with IDF soldiers during an official visit in Israel, embraced them, and thanked them for their assistance in earthquake relief efforts and "further consolidating the friendly and historical relations between our two nations and our countries." At Ramla military base, Meta awarded the Albanian Golden Medal of the Eagle to the National Rescue Unit of the IDF.
Response to Surfside, Florida, condominium collapseEdit
On June 24, 2021, Israeli Consul-General Maor Elbaz-Starinsky conveyed an official offer from the Israeli government to send the Home Front Command search and rescue team to Florida to assist in rescue efforts associated with the Surfside condominium building collapse. Florida did not respond to the Israeli offer of aid until June 25, when Home Front Command joined the search for survivors.
Units and districtsEdit
- The Search and Rescue School (Bahad 16)
- Northern District
- Haifa District
- Dan District
- Jerusalem and Central District
- Southern District
Together the districts field 26 rescue battalions, 13 NBC-defense battalions, 14 military hospitals, 8 light infantry battalions and 6 logistic units manned mostly by reservists. Additionally the active duty "Alon" Brigade fields the following units:
- "Albanian president thanks Israeli soldiers for aid after deadly earthquake; Ilir Meta stopped at the Ramla military base, where he awarded the "Golden Eagle Decoration" to the IDF's National Rescue Unit". JNS. 24 January 2020.
- Leichman, Abigail Klein (4 December 2019). "Israel sends expert aid to Albania after deadly earthquake". ISRAEL21c.
- Eichner, Itamar (27 November 2019). "Israel Rescue and Service team assisting emergency operations in Albania". Ynet. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
- "משלחת המומחים לסיוע באלבניה שבה לארץ", 13 December 2019, IDF.il.
- "IDF sends aid mission to earthquake-stricken Albania". The Times of Israel. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- "Albanian president thanks Israeli soldiers for aid after deadly earthquake". Jewish News Syndicate (JNS). 24 January 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
- Magid, Jacob. "Israel providing aid at scene of Florida building collapse, offers rescue team". Times of Israel. Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
- "Florida yet to answer Israeli offer to send rescue team to collapsed building". Times of Israel. Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
- Villarreal, Daniel. "Mexican and Israeli Task Forces Join Search For Survivors in Surfside Building Collapse". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 26 June 2021.