Every single day, more than 1,000 people in Israel find themselves in the worst scenario that they have ever been in their lives. They are facing severe medical crises and are in need of emergency assistance. When these moments happen, and they can happen to anyone and everyone in the blink of an eye, a person’s world literally explodes.
Helping them in their time of need is the greatest act of loving-kindness another person can do. It is what the more than 5,000 men and women who volunteer with United Hatzalah do every single day. These emergency medical service first responders drop whatever it is that they are doing and rush out to help others when they need it most. But they are not alone. They too have help and the assistance of bystanders who come to the rescue, as well as supporters from afar those who make the work of these vol
unteers possible by donating their time and money to assist the organization.
Assisting another person in their darkest hour is one of the greatest commandments that God set down for humanity. In Deuteronomy, we read that we must help another person in their time of need, and we are specifically commanded to not ignore the person who requires our help. Both a positive and negative commandment for the same issue.
For the 1,000 people who call United Hatzalah and ask for assistance each day, the fast, free, and professional support which they receive from the organization’s first responders, both medical and from the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, literally means the difference between life and death for many of them.
United Hatzalah is a first response emergency medical services organization, whose services, all of them, including ambulance transport, are 100 percent free of charge. The men and women who serve as first responders with the organization do so out of a deep sense of affection for their fellow man. “The desire to help others is what makes the people in this organization do what they do,” said President and Founder Eli Beer. “It not only drives all of our volunteers to give up their own time to rush out and help strangers, but it builds communities and brings people from all different walks of life in Israel together, united by a common goal. That is the power of life-saving, and that is the power of United Hatzalah.”
Beer has dedicated his life to righting a wrong that is occurring all over the world to varying degrees, and that is that people are often afraid to call for an ambulance due to the prohibitive costs and the lengthy response times. “We have never charged for our services of helping others and we never will. That is not what we are about. We are about helping those who need it and providing that help as fast as they can get.”
Beer has steered his organization with those goals in mind and has succeeded in having emergency response times in major cities in Israel reduced to just 90 seconds. “Our goal is to provide a first response within 90 seconds across the country and to share our model with the world.”
In 2017, close to 300,000 people received free medical treatment from United Hatzalah volunteers. In 2018 that number is set to increase by more than 30 percent. The organization, whose budgets are kept to a minimum operating fee, is completely supported by donations, with more than 30 f their annual donation base coming from Israeli donors who recognize the importance of the lifesaving work that United Hatzalah does in having first responders arrive at the scene of a medical emergency prior to the arrival of an ambulance.
“We do this for all citizens and residents of Israel, regardless of race, gender or nationality. Saving lives is what is important that is why we exist. In the moments that matter, the things that divide us are outweighed by that which unites us,” Beer added. “No matter who you are, where you are from or what your religion is, the value of a life, any life, is paramount to all else,” Beer declared.
For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Beer issued a general invitation to all interested parties to participate in the act of saving lives. “For those who can, we invite you to come and join our organization and become a first responder EMT, Paramedic of Psychotrauma volunteer. We have courses beginning all the time. For those who cannot commit the time or are otherwise unable to be a volunteer first responder, you can partner with us by donating to help our volunteers. That too is saving lives in a direct and active way. When the Machzor says that charity is one of the three things that saves one from death, they were talking about us. The charitable actions of our volunteers, utilizing the support of the charity given by our donors, literally saves people from death every single day.”
Beer added to his invitation a commitment on behalf of the organization. “Every person who donates to United Hatzalah receives stories of how their donation directly saved lives. That has always been our protocol and it will continue to be so. If a person donates an oxygen tank, a defibrillator, a vehicle such as an ambucycle, or adopts a volunteer, they will receive regular updates about how this equipment, vehicle, or responder help provide medical treatment or saved a person’s life. That is my commitment to all of our donors.”
To become a partner in lifesaving with United Hatzalah, you can visit their website and sign up to become a volunteer if you live in Israel, or donate to assist the organization in its lifesaving mission by visiting their website at https://israelrescue.org/donate. Beer signed off with a Rosh Hashanah twist on his invitation that is uniquely United Hatzalah. “Volunteer or donate with United Hatzalah this holiday season and inscribe yourself in the book of lifesaving. May we all merit to help bring the people of Israel new beginnings, longer life, and unity in doing so.”
To donate in support of United Hatzalah please click here: