Comprised of local residents, with intimate, first-hand knowledge of their communities, the volunteer first response security teams of Magen Yehuda provide an immediate response to any threat on a real-time basis.
During the last few years, we are witnesses to a new security reality in Israel.
Since the founding of the State, the IDF has staunchly stood on the frontlines to protect the nation of Israel. However, in the past few years, thousands of civilians have taken up the mantle to defend their homes and communities. No longer is the role of defending the lives of Israelis exclusively in the hands of Israel’s military and security forces.
What has brought about this new development?
During the Second Intifada, Arab terrorists began to change their modus operandi. Rather than taking hostages to negotiate the release of their incarcerated compatriots, the terrorists came to kill. With 46 successful infiltration attacks in towns, villages and cities throughout Israel, it became obvious that Israel also needed to change its own modus operandi. Towns, villages and local communities were in need of security personnel who were intimately familiar with local streets, parks and play areas, schools and homes of their friends and neighbors. Teams of first responders would be able to provide these answers in real-time. The combination of their knowledge of their community and their defense capability could save countless lives.
The IDF Assembles First Response Teams
The IDF began assembling locally-based First Response Teams. However, pulling together a response team is a complex matter. How can citizens deal with armed and trained terrorist groups? How can they provide protection on a daily basis when they themselves have their own families, homes and businesses to protect? How can they be trained to effectively react within minutes of an infiltration into their community?
In 2004, Magen Yehuda – Yehuda’s Shield – entered the picture, supplementing the IDF’s 1-2 annual training sessions for volunteer teams, providing additional training for IDF advisers to these teams, and equally as important, writing the “combat code” manual which provides the operating foundation for all the teams throughout the country.
Comprised of local residents, with intimate, first-hand knowledge of the area, these volunteer members of First Response Teams are willing and able to provide immediate response to any threat on a real-time basis, playing a vitally important role in containing terrorist infiltrations and attacks. At the heart of the matter is the fact that these individuals – fathers, sons, neighbors and friends – are willing to sacrifice everything to protect and safeguard their communities. Over the years, several of our first responders have even sacrificed their lives.
Magen Yehuda is an apolitical, non-profit organization, working with First Response Teams throughout the country. There are 5,500 volunteer first responders living in more than 400 communities, cities, towns and villages – from the north to the south.
All volunteers undergo vetting by the IDF and, once receiving approval, undergo training. While the IDF provides one or two annual training days this is simply not enough for these response teams to react to the many difficult situations that they encounter on a near-daily basis. The lack of appropriate training has already cost lives.
Magen Yehuda Fulfills a Crucial Need
Magen Yehuda fills in this crucial gap by providing short intensive training tailored to the specific needs of these response teams. We teach each response team member the skills they need to accomplish their mission, and how to effectively operate as a team. We train team leaders and security coordinators on how to effectively command the team during operations, and how best to coordinate operations with the army and relevant authorities.
Recently, Magen Yehuda trainers conducted a session among first responders from a local community. As part of the session, a terrorist scenario was enacted. Two weeks later, an actual incident involving a real terrorist took place, and one of the volunteer responders, with the training session fresh in his mind, succeeded in neutralizing the terrorist.
Magen Yehuda offers lectures, workshops and courses on empowering civil strength, helping civilians to improve their self help abilities and ensuring that they regain their sense of security.
An IDF Colonel recently thanked Magen Yehuda. “We thank you for your cooperation and support in providing a training course for our First Response Team mentors. We hope that this program will lead to… helping to improve the security of our citizens…and will serve as an example of the synergistic relationship between the IDF and local communities.”
“Without Magen Yehuda’s professional help, we would not have been able to achieve such a high, effective level with our First Response Team. Thank you.” the representative of a community near Gaza wrote.
It is not surprising that the calls for the establishment of more and more First Response Teams are increasing. With the near-daily Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens in our streets, First Response Teams play a critical role in saving the lives of Israel’s citizens.
Magen Yehuda’s resources are limited. We need your help to train more First Response Teams and provide additional resources and equipment for those already operating in the field. You can help us provide these vital resources and, by doing so, help these volunteers save lives and safely return home to their own families.
Please click here to donate to Magen Yehuda!