More than 250 people attended a special dinner in support of United Hatzalah which took place at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.
The dinner brought the message of coexistence through the mutual goal of lifesaving, which the organization prides itself on, to the London community in a unique way by introducing the participants to both Jewish and Muslim emergency medical service first responders.
Three volunteers who flew in from Israel especially for the event wowed the crowd with personal stories of lives that they saved and the impact that the organization has made on them. Rania Abu Shaban, a Muslim volunteer who lives in east Jerusalem and attended the event. She told the crowd why she volunteers with the organization that has been in the past associated with the ultra-orthodox Jewish community: I believe that my mission in this world is to share a message which is twofold, encompassing both a general and personal aspect. The general aspect is that we are human. The personal aspect is that everyone has their own unique way of doing things. I take courage and strength in both and that gives me the boldness I need to spread my mission to save all people no matter who they are or where they come from. Hearing the stories of people like Eli Beer encouraged me to become a part of it and join United Hatzalah to save others, to help others, and to bring more love into the world.”
Two other volunteer EMTs, Roni Sela and Dina Klatis, also spoke about their experiences at the London event. “Dina and I were honored to represent United Hatzalah volunteers in the UK friends of United Hatzalah dinner,” Roni said. “I have been at many events in my life. I have seen a lot of fundraising and I expected the evening to be fun and respectable but was not ready for the emotional level that it reached. By the time Dina and I finished speaking and all the video clips were already shown, there was a line of people at our table, tears in their eyes, who came to us and lined up to say thank you and give us a hug.”
“We shared our story and the story of other volunteers in the organization who save lives every day,” added Dina. “I felt tremendous pride at being a part of an organization such as this one.”
Roni added: “The event reminded me of just what kind of an impact the work that we do has on people. We volunteer on a daily basis. As volunteers, we sometimes forget how incredible our stories are. What we experience as a routine is really unparalleled in any other line of work or volunteering. So on behalf of Dina and myself, I want to thank Eli Beer and United Hatzalah for giving us the opportunity to help others.”.
These are just three of the more than 6,000 volunteers who make up the network of first responders that enable United Hatzalah to have an average response time of less than three minutes across Israel,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. “Each of our volunteers has a personal story of why they joined our organization, of a life that they have saved, and of a person who is in less pain because of the work that they performed free of charge.”
After hearing the volunteers speak, Netflix star Rona-Lee Shimon from Fauda also spoke to the crowd about why she supports the organization and what it means to her.
Following the speeches, an auction was held which featured the works donated by Zion Ezri from the ArtTime Gallery in Jerusalem, and Omer Tiroche from the Tiroche Gallery in London.
As the evening was about fundraising, following the auction the crowd was asked to support the work of the charity. The gathered crowd replied strongly in the affirmative and raised more than £400,000 for the organization.
“The people who came tonight learned a lot about the valuable services that United Hatzalah provides to the people of Israel and around the world,” said CEO of British Friends of United Hatzalah of Israel Assaf Admoni. “The purpose of the evening was specific to raise funds to purchase 250 defibrillators. We have an urgent need to put more defibrillators in the field. Currently, only half of the volunteers in United Hatzalah carry a defibrillator with them when they rush out to emergencies. This is a very important lifesaving device and it is very expensive. I am so proud of the London community who recognized the need that exists and answered it. We were astonished by the generosity and commitment shown by the community and how people really committed to supporting Israel, “Admoni concluded.