Pikuach Nefesh is the Hebrew term for the obligation to put the saving of a life above all other commandments. The source of the term is from the Yoma tractate, 83a, where the mishna discusses the conditions in which it is permissible to break the sanctity of Yom Kippur. One example is when a structure has fallen on someone who may still be alive, and the rule is that the rubble is to be removed (mifakchin alav et hagal). There is then a long and detailed discussion, which includes the commandment that the labor is to be done by the men, with no attempt to have it done, say, by children who aren't fasting anyway.
2,200 years later, a team of Haredi men has joined the Israeli rescue team in Haiti, and they're proudly working throughout the Shabbat. Yet another small expression of the importance of having a Jewish state.
Correction: that should be 1,800 years or so, not 2,200.