Mission accomplished: Israeli Defense Forces fly back home


Thirteen days after their humanitarian medical mission in the Philippines, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) went back home to Israel on Wednesday, November 27, bringing the memories of thankful Cebuano faces in northern Cebu.

Colonel Shai Brovender, IDF Military Attache to the Philippines received an Award of the Military Civic Action Medal from Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command Commander Major General John Bonafos at the Mactan Benito Ebuen Airbase in a ceremony before their flight.

“We are fully grateful for the Israelis for their kindness, generosity, and for their aid… We are eternally grateful for what they have done here,” Governor Hilario P. Davide III commented a few moments before the send-off ceremony in honor of the Israelis humanitarian delegates.

The Israelis left their medical equipment to the province but brought home two kids with cleft palates, together with their guardians. According to the Isreali Embassay, the children, who are from Medellin, will be operated on in Israel.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Philippine Honorary Consul to the Philippines Emily Chioson, and Isreali Ambassador to the Philippines Menashe Bar-on were also present during the ceremony.

Brovender led the 143 IDF personnel in a medical mission in northern Cebu last November 14, after super typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan (it’s international team), struck and devastated northern Cebu.

The IDF set up a field hospital annexed to the Capitol-run Severo Verallo Memorial Medical Center in Bogo City. They treated thousands of patients not only from the city, but also from San Remegio, Medellin, Daanbantayan, and the other neighboring towns.

The field hospital can operate like the normal hospitals. It was fully equipped with sophisticated medical equipment and provided with medical specialists.

Dr. Erez Tsumi, an eye specialist said the mission changed him more as it saved the lives of thousands of patients whether wounded or injured by the devastating super typhoon.

“It’s about people helping other people. It affects me how to be human to another,” said Tsumi, who had been on a mission for the first time in 18 years as a member of the IDF.

He added he was glad he was able to perform 15 operations and restored the visions of 11 persons.

The IDF mission also repaired some schools as well as donated water purifier equipment to the towns in the 4th district. Xerxes Alkuino