The Israel Civilian K9 Unit has subsequently stepped in to fill the country's dire need for a Civilian Volunteer Search And Rescue Dog Unit.
Why volunteer? The art of using dogs for Search And Rescue requires a balanced and caring, long term relationship between the dog and his handler. To perform optimally in harsh conditions, the handler needs to know his dog from a young age. The handler needs to understand his dog, his needs, his fears and his methods of communications. In turn, the dog needs to have absolute trust in his handler and feel that his handler is there to back him up through thick and thin. It is very difficult to develop such a deep and rich relationship under the rigorous constraints of the security services.
As the organization grows we have received much recognition and the public has learned to turn to us for help.
On Monday night 6/7/2014 we received a call from a woman in Chedera, who told us that Avraham Axelrod, her 84 year old father had disappeared two days erlier, on Saturday 5/7/2014. He was last seen at lunch time and had disappeared without a trace.
The matter had been reported to the Police, but that they don't seem to treat it as a priority and that no progress has been made.
The information was then posted on our website, Facebook and emailed to our list of volunteers (to join our "Eyes of the community" email list click here.)
We draw 1Km and 3Km radius circles around the place where the person was last seen and we use that as the staring point of the search.
As we were getting organized, more and more people took interest in this unusual midnight gathering of people and dogs, and they joined the search. Ironically, the local Police patrol, that was unaware of the fact that a person was missing came to inquire, and took note.
One local resident noticed one of the FaceBook posts and independently set out to look for Avraham. With all the fuss, someone came across Avraham sitting blissfully on a park bench. After an absence of 36 hours without food and water, Avraham was remarkably cheerful. (Picture below of newly found Avraham with members of the our dog unit.)
Unfortunately, not all stories end off with such a happy ending.
On the previous Thursday, 3/7/2014 we were called for help by the family of Yosef Salamsa of Binyamina. His family told us that they don't know where to even start looking, that the Police do not want to call for a search and that we are their last hope.
We categorized the case as a high priority search. The person had been missing only for a short period. He was at work and was expected back. He was not known be erratic or to disappear without telling people. The most likely theory was that he ventured out and injured himself and the probability is high that he may be somewhere nearby, alive but unable to return or call for help.
We responded immediately.
While packing dogs, supplies and equipment into our vehicles, we generated the area's maps and aerial and satellite pictures. We arrived at Binyamina 2:00am and despite the late hour we were greeted by more then a dozen of his friends.
We interviewed his family, friends and colleagues, collected as much data as possible and started to build a profile. By 2:30am, searching commenced in the immediate vicinity of the last recorded cell phone signal that was received from his number.
We had stopped for Davening, breakfast and a meeting to plan ahead. We were joined by the Deputy Mayor of the town of Binyamina who had now decided to open a municipal control center to facilitate our search efforts and that will give the "search" a proper HQ and enable us to search over Shabbos with as little Chillul Shabbos as possible.
Aftre several discussions with police, we learned that our nagging them to send up a helicopter worked. We soon saw that the Police Dog Units and the Police Helicopter had joined the search.
The search for Yosef Salamsa had now become a priority.
Within minutes of the Helicopter going up, we received a call from the Police officer in charge of the search instructing us to stop searching until further notice.
We didn't find Avraham nor Yosef but we take pride at the fact that we went out and made an effort to find them. We do take credit for the fact that we mobilized the family, friends and the police to search and find the missing persons.
It is our mission to try and find the missing people as quickly as possible so that, with Hashem's help, if there is any chance, they can be reunited with their loved-ones alive and well and receive the medical attention they need.
Otherwise, we aim to help the family locate the remains of the missing person so that he can be laid to rest respectfully, according to the Halachic requirements to bring closure to the family and a grave that they can visit and say kadish by.
Our unit is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers and sponsors. If you would like to have a part in this wonderful mitzvah, either as a volunteers or as a donor, please call Yekutiel +972(0) 54 487 6709 or on a US number 19174750789 or Gideon on +972(0)52 714 4428 or firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTIONS CAN BE SENT TO MAGINEI HAARETZ LMAAN HAZULAT
POBOX 6592 Jerusalem israel