In January 2003, the Israel Defense Forces formed a number of specialized "search & rescue" units to serve the residents of the Arab, Bedouin and Druze communities in Israel.
The units - Abu Ghosh (Israeli-Arabs), Yahav (Bedouins) and Druze - were official dedicated in June 2003. They operate under the auspices of the IDF Homefront Command as well as the Interior and Defense Ministries. Members of the unit are trained in first aid, fire-fighting and complete courses in rescue administered by the Homefront Command.
The units' mission is to act as a rescue unit serving the population of their respective communities.
"For example, in the case of a conventional missile strike, the [Yahav] unit's job is to rescue people from the rubble. In the case of a non-conventional missile attack, the unit's job is to keep people as far away as possible from the impact spot," explained Lt.Col. Logassi of the IDF Southern Command.
IDF Unit 585, the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, was founded in 1987 and is comprised of mostly Bedouin soldiers. The battalion plays a unique role patrolling communities closest to the Gaza Strip, and members risk their lives daily to protect their fellow Israelis even though they are not mandatorily conscripted into IDF service.