A woman was driving along Highway 65 near Afula when she lost control of her car, spinning wildly and flipping over. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yitzchak Shayov was nearby and the United Hatzalah dispatching system identified him as one of the five closest responders to the scene. After being notified of the harrowing incident, Yitzchak immediately raced to the scene, arriving in the shortest time possible. The skilled EMT found the 50-year-old driver trapped inside her vehicle having suffered injuries to her head and abdomen. He applied a neck brace for C-spine stabilization and reassured the woman as they waited for the arrival of the fire department’s special rescues unit to extricate her from the vehicle. After she was freed from the vehicle, Yitzchak together with other arriving first responders bandaged her wounds, immobilized her to a backboard, and loaded her onto an ambulance for rapid evacuation to nearby HaEmek Medical Center.
This is just one of the thousands of regular emergency calls that United Hatzalah and its volunteers respond to on a daily basis. During this current pandemic and resultant public health crisis, with COVID-19 cases rising dramatically in Israel and abroad, United Hatzalah’s volunteer EMTs paramedics, and doctors, continue to put themselves in harm’s way to provide emergency medical care to anyone in need. Israel’s Ministry of Health has taken an aggressive approach in attempting to prevent the virus’ spread in the country and United Hatzalah is doing everything it can to assist in this mission, all the while maintaining their regular emergency medical service activities.
With the need to conduct home testing on thousands upon thousands of people, Israel’s ambulance services are overtaxed and spread extremely thin – too thin to provide a fast and adequate response to the thousands of general medical emergencies that occur on a daily basis. United Hatzalah is stepping in to fill that gap, responding to a growing number of medical emergencies across the country as well as fielding numerous queries for COVID-19 advice. Additionally, the organization’s fleet of ambulances has been called on to help transfer COVID-19 patients between hospitals and special quarantine centers.
Israel is under lockdown and tens of thousands of at-risk Israelis are struggling to access even the most essential resources. United Hatzalah has stepped up to help coordinate and deliver food packages to elderly citizens, Holocaust survivors, and other affected populations. In cooperation with the Israel Association of Community Centers and the non-profit Lev Echad Community Crisis Aid organization, United Hatzalah has established the National Humanitarian Dispatch Center. The initiative will be using United Hatzalah’s proprietary technology to locate the closest volunteers based on the GPS on their phones and alert them to the humanitarian emergency in their proximity. To this end, United Hatzalah’s technical operations department has been overseeing the expansion of its current dispatch center and the establishment of an additional center in Tel Aviv. In just its first few hours of operation, the National Humanitarian Dispatch Center responded to thousands of calls. In addition to continuing their response to medical emergencies, the organization’s dispatchers are managing a combined network of 30,000 volunteers in delivering food, medicine, and other necessary supplies.
Despite the inherent risks, thousands of volunteers like Yitzchak are on the frontlines and united in their dedication to United Hatzalah’s mission to provide prompt, caring, and expert emergency medical responses under any circumstances. As an organization, United Hatzalah is committed to taking all necessary protective measures to ensure the health and safety of our medics.
To support the work of United Hatzalah during this crisis please click here:
As you may be aware Eli was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of last week. He was put on a ventilator last Friday evening. Eli is showing signs of improvement. His vital signs continue to get stronger and the level of fluid in his lungs is decreasing. If Eli continues to improve they will start the process of waking him slowly in the coming days. We should continue our prayers for Eli’s full recovery.
Thank you to everyone for their concern, prayers, messages, and donations in Eli’s honor.
Eli’s Hebrew name is Eliezer Yehudah Ben Chaya
The Israel Association of Community Centers and Lev Echad have partnered with United Hatzalah of Israel and launched a new national dispatch center managing 30,000 volunteers who will provide assistance to humanitarian emergencies across Israel. The new partnership has given birth to the largest humanitarian aid group currently operating in Israel.
The mission of the new dispatch center and resulting conglomerate, which launched on Wednesday evening, will be to send volunteers to help the elderly, people with disabilities, or those stuck in home isolation as quickly as possible. The initiative, which is being dubbed, “1221 Assistance for All”, will be using technology developed by United Hatzalah to locate the closest volunteers based on the GPS on their phones and alert them to the humanitarian emergency in their proximity. The initiative, which was made possible by financial assistance from The Family Foundation of Inbar & Marius Nacht, has received approval and praise from the Minister of Defence Naftali Bennett who promised support from his ministry. The Ministry for Social Equality will also be forwarding requests for help which it receives.
The emergency number for the new dispatch center is the same as United Hatzalah’s regular number of 1221. Humanitarian calls will be immediately routed to dispatchers who received specialized training from all three organizations that focused on catering to the needs of the people who may be calling in. In addition to regular phone calls, dispatchers will be handling calls in sign-language via video chat. The dispatch center will be open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.six days a week.
All of the volunteers who registered to participate in the initiative have been outfitted with a specialized phone application that will allow the dispatch system to immediately notify the five closest responders to a humanitarian emergency. Dispatchers will also be contacting those closest to the emergency and ask that they respond and provide the assistance needed.
The assistance will include medical aid provided by trained United Hatzalah EMS personnel for those who are injured or sick, prior to the arrival of an ambulance. Logistical assistance in picking up and dropping off medicine, medical supplies, food, and immediate arrival of a volunteer to all those requesting aid. Emotional support for the elderly and those stuck due to Covid-19 regulations including phone support for those stuck in home isolation or quarantine. Lastly, the combined force of volunteers will provide assistance to those with disabilities.
Vice President of Operations of United Hatzalah Dov Maisel explained what prompted the initiative. “During the current crisis taking place in Israel, United Hatzalah volunteers are still responding to medical emergencies across Israel. As an organization that serves the public, we were unable to stay complacent in the face of what we recognized as a rising humanitarian crisis of national proportions. Numerous segments of the population are suffering as a result of the current crisis due to the dramatic shift of lifestyle now being forced upon us all. We decided to mobilize together with our partners and provide a country-wide network of volunteers that will provide aid to the elderly, people with disabilities and others in need of assistance due to isolation. We have revamped our dispatch center in order to use it for the new initiative and opened a completely new center of operations as well as adapting our specialized phone application to incorporate the rest of the volunteers who will be participating in the program.”
General Manager of the Israel Association of Community Centers, Raz Frohlich said: “The Israel Association of Community Centers of Israel, in conjunction with the local and regional councils, manages the largest volunteer system in Israel that numbers close to 30,000 pensioners, adults, and teenagers from all segments of Israeli society. There are more than 1,000 locations that make up the heart of our association that are active both on a regular basis and during emergencies. Together with United Hatzalah and Lev Echad, we will now be providing emergency humanitarian response while strengthening the resiliency of each of these communities during this time of emergency. In addition, we will be focusing on building the community resources necessary for when this situation finally comes to an end.”
Chairman of Lev Echad, Erez Eschel added: “Lev Echad has in the past assisted leading organizations during times of emergency, including Ayalim, HaShomer HaChadash, Pre-Military Academies, to create community coordinators and bridge the gap between the needs of a community and the organizations that are providing assistance. In partnering together with United Hatzalah and the Israel Association of Community Centers, we will work towards providing an emergency humanitarian response to the majority of the needs of the Israeli populace and we will plant the seeds of the foundations needed for after this situation subsides.”
To support United Hatzalah’s work fighting against the Coronavirus please click here: https://israelrescue.org/project/coronaresponse
Teams of Furloughed Volunteers Throughout The Country Deliver Food To Elderly And People in Isolation
United Hatzalah volunteers across Israel have initiated a campaign working together with social services of local and regional councils to deliver food packages to those in need of financial assistance, people stuck in isolation and the elderly. Volunteers have already begun to distribute food packages in Kiryat Ata, Nahariya, Bnei Brak, Ma’alot, Yokneam, Megiddo, Arad, Jerusalem, and Haifa.
In Yokneam volunteers delivered 120 food packages to elderly Holocaust survivors who, like many other Israelis, are stuck at home due to the Coronavirus regulations. The volunteers added Pesach food to the packages so that the recipients, who are in the high-risk category should they contract the Coronavirus, wouldn’t have to venture out to go shopping for the holiday.
“While our volunteers deliver food packages ahead of Pesach every year to those in need in numerous cities, this year we added a lot to the packages and delivered them early due to the Coronavirus regulations,” said Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel. “Due to the Regulations limiting movement because of the Coronavirus, we’re initiating this program countrywide and are gathering volunteers to assist even in areas that haven’t participated in this project in previous years,” Maisel said.
EMTs, as well as volunteers from the organization’s Ten Kavod project, delivered hundreds of food packages across the country and will be continuing to do so for the next two weeks leading up to Pesach.
The organization ensured that all of the deliveries were done in ways that adhered to the regulations set forth by the Health Ministry and would not endanger those receiving the food packages as well as those giving them.
In Hod Hasharon, as in many other areas, the volunteers worked directly in partnership with staff from the city’s social services department and delivered food to elderly people who have been shut in in their houses due to the current regulations.
In Kiryat Ata and Haifa, teams of volunteers delivered close to 1,000 food packages to residents in need of assistance.
“A lot of our volunteers have themselves been laid off or furloughed and have taken it upon themselves to join these efforts and help coordinate logistics. They’ve spearheaded partnerships with local social services in their area to kick-off this program to help others who likewise could use a helping hand in these tough times,” said Maisel. “This is the Israeli spirit of volunteering at its best and I am proud that the volunteers of United Hatzalah have wholeheartedly joined in this effort.”
To support the work of United Hatzalah in the wake of the Coronavirus, please click here: https://israelrescue.org/project/coronaresponse
As the Covid-19 coronavirus situation in Israel worsens, United Hatzalah joined forces with Kiryat Ata city council to deliver food packages to those in need of financial assistance, people stuck in isolation and the elderly in the city. The organization joined together with social services in the city to deliver food to those in financial distress and the elderly who were not able to go shopping by themselves due to fears of contracting the Covid-19 disease.
EMTs, as well as volunteers from the organization’s Ten Kavod project, delivered hundreds of food packages across the city. The organization ensured that all of the deliveries were done in ways that would not endanger those receiving the food packages as well as those giving them. Kiryat Ata’s social services department, as well as local community leaders, participated in the much-needed delivery for those in isolation who could not go shopping themselves.
United Hatzalah Regional Director Naftali Rotenberg spoke about the initiative which he himself participated in: “As always, the people of Israel stepped up to help each other out, especially in this trying time. Many people worked together to make this possible and United Hatzalah volunteers were among them. Wherever we are needed that is where we will be. Our volunteers will continue to help and assist the public in any way that is necessary.”
To support the work of United Hatzalah volunteers during this trying time please click here: https://israelrescue.org/project/coronaresponse
Following the publication of last week’s powerful video by Eli Beer here is an update from United Hatzalah’s Chairman of the Board Mark and Erica Gerson:
Dear Friend of United Hatzalah,
In the Book of Genesis, Jacob is on a journey to see his brother. An unnamed “man” appears and engages Jacob in a nightlong wrestling match. Jacob is injured but emerges victorious. Still, he tells his opponent, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
One should always learn, emerge from a struggle with a blessing.
Eli Beer is in a struggle due to a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19. On Friday evening he was put on a ventilator to assist his breathing. We expect Eli to be sedated for two days to two weeks and expect he will experience a full (if slow and difficult) recovery. We are grateful for the outstanding care Eli is receiving at the hospital in Miami, and for the remarkable support that United Hatzalah supporters are providing for him in Miami.
For all of those who love and admire Eli, we have something profound within our power: we can enable him to emerge from this struggle with a blessing. The attached video, which he apparently made a moment before he was sedated, shows how he would like to be blessed. We can imagine his smile — and indeed joy — if, upon awaking, he sees this page filled with support and supporters.
May God bless you — and Eli and the volunteers of United Hatzalah, who are working nonstop in very difficult and dangerous circumstances to save the lives of their neighbors in need from regular and irregular challenges.
Mark and Erica Gerson
If you can please donate to help support United Hatzalah’s fight against the Coronavirus here: https://israelrescue.org/project/coronaresponse
Israel’s Health Ministry called upon United Hatzalah today to enlist the organization’s help in the national fight against COVID-19, known as coronavirus. The Ministry has asked United Hatzalah to utilize its fleet of ambulances and network of first responders to transport coronavirus patients who are in light condition to and from hospitals and centers where patients are being cared for, such as the newly termed “corona-hotels” in Tel Aviv.
United Hatzalah immediately dispatched its ambulance fleet, consisting of some 30 ambulances, to begin transporting patients. The organization’s volunteer ambulance crews responded rapidly to the call and were provided with full protective suits to wear while transporting patients.
Each ambulance is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after a patient is transported.
Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah, Dov Maisel, said: “We are proud to answer the call of the Health Ministry and provide this essential service in the fight against the coronavirus. Our volunteers, who number more than 6,000 people, have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take a more formal role in the battle the country is currently waging. All of our volunteers have been briefed and are aware of the risks involved. Being the true heroes that they are, they are volunteering in droves to participate in the project.”
Maisel added: “The level of care that United Hatzalah provides is second to none and each and every one of the patients we transport can expect to receive the highest level of care possible. In just a few hours this afternoon, we have transported nearly a dozen patients and look forward to assisting the Health Ministry moving forward. Whether the need be corona-related or a general medical emergency, our volunteers and ambulance teams are at the ready, fully equipped and prepared to handle any emergency.”
To support United Hatzalah’s fight against the Coronavirus please click here:
We have had a further update on Eli Beer’s health today and thankfully he is doing well and showing some signs of recovery. His vital signs remain good and he is no longer suffering from shortness of breath.
He has been diagnosed with pneumonia with a presumptive diagnosis of Covid-19.
We thank everyone for their kind words and will continue to post this blog when updates are available.
Name for prayers: Eliezer Yehuda Ben Chaya