A Moving Meeting Between a Man and the People Who Saved His Life

The last day of 2018 in Mevaseret Tzion, Tomer Greenzeid, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT was heading to work when his emergency phone application alerted him to a medical emergency in his vicinity. A 67-year-old man suffered respiratory distress and stopped breathing on the same street that Tomer was located on at that very instant.  

Tomer, who is used to receiving such emergency calls, rushed to the address of the incident. In his car were his medical kit and an automated external defibrillator (AED) issued by the organization he volunteers for. In less than 60 seconds, Tomer arrived at the address. He located the patient who was unconscious and had no pulse and attached the defibrillator he was carrying. He was joined a moment later by Paramedic Uriel Amrani who was also nearby and was similarly alerted to the incident.

The pair began CPR and almost immediately after, two other United Hatzalah volunteers rushed in the door and joined the effort. The team of first responders administered four shocks from the defibrillator before the patient’s heart started beating once again. The man then began breathing on his own. When the Intensive Care Ambulance team arrived, they transported the patient to the nearest hospital in Jerusalem.

Last week, Tomer and Uriel were invited by the man and his family to their home in order to meet the first responders who saved his life. The meeting took place in the living room of the family residence located in the Castel section of Mevaseret. Tomer and Uriel were happy to see that the man had been released from the hospital and was now alive and happy in the care of his family.

Tomer and Uriel told the family of their efforts in saving the life of their patriarch and showed them how the defibrillator that they used to save his life works. The family thanked the volunteers for their efforts in saving their father, husband, and grandfather, noting how rare the occurrence is that a person returns to full health after requiring CPR.

At the end of the meeting, the family presented the volunteers with a letter of appreciation and said: “From our perspective, you are now a part of our family.”


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Leaving The Shabbat Table To Save a Life

It was around 8:30 pm Friday night. David Badar from Elad and his family were sitting around the table, in the middle of their Shabbat meal. When all of a sudden, the familiar buzz of David’s United Hatzalah radio alerted him to an emergency nearby. An infant was choking. The dedicated volunteer didn’t waste a second. He jumped up from the table, dashed out of his house, jumped on his ambucycle and flew along the roads to arrive at the address within 60 seconds.

David Badar on his ambucycle

A young mother thrust her small newborn into the medic’s arms. The ten-day-old baby had asphyxiated on his mother’s milk; she was semi-conscious and her tiny body was entirely blue. The experienced medic immediately positioned the baby over his arm and administered chest thrusts and firm back blows. He cleared the baby’s airway and provided blow-by supplemental oxygen. Within seconds, he had stabilized the baby’s condition. As the newborn began to cry, David checked her over and then gently gave her back to her mother. The woman cuddled her baby close to her, overwhelmed with utter relief. David reassured her that the imminent danger was over, comforting both her and her stunned husband after the traumatic ordeal.

Twenty minutes later, an intensive care ambulance arrived to transport the newborn to the hospital for observation and David returned home, filled with exhilaration, excitement, and joy. Re-joining his family at the Shabbat meal, his children asked him curiously what had happened. He was grateful to tell them that indeed, he had just saved a young life.

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In Less Than a Minute He Saved a Woman’s Life

On a recent Sunday afternoon, a 70-year-old woman was crossing the street in Jerusalem when she was struck and run over by a massive truck, severely injuring her legs. Horrified witnesses quickly called for help. Nati Osteri, a volunteer United Hatzalah EMT, was visiting a friend just down the street when the urgent call came in on his United Hatzalah communication device. Without so much as a word to his friend, the dedicated volunteer bolted out the door, leaped onto his ambucycle and raced down the street, arriving in under 60 seconds.

Osteri on scene

The experienced EMT immediately saw that the heavy bleeding from both the woman’s legs could prove fatal if not stopped quickly.  Nati rapidly removed a CAT (combat application tourniquet) from his medical bag and stopped the arterial bleeding in one leg. He then used a standard tourniquet to stop the bleeding in the second leg. In just over a minute, Nati had literally saved this woman’s life. A United Hatzalah ambulance crew arrived and helped stabilize the woman’s condition before she was quickly evacuated to the nearest trauma unit.

The scene of the accident,

“In our field of work, seconds count,” Nati said. “Today’s scenario was just one such example where had I arrived a few moments later, the patient would have been dead and there would have been no patient to save. The location technology, as well as the training and equipment I received from United Hatzalah, very much saved this woman’s life today. I am happy to have been able to be there for her and thankful that I was able to help her,” he added.

Nati Osteri is just one of 5,000 volunteers from United Hatzalah who respond to over 1,100 calls per day and save countless lives in Israel. The fact that the volunteers are going about their daily lives and drop everything to save the lives of those who are in their near proximity, makes Israel a safer place for all citizens.

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Tips for Winter Weather from United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah has completed its nationwide preparations for the coming winter storm that is expected to hit Israel on Wednesday afternoon and evening. As part of these preparations, the organization has issued a list of best practices for getting through the storm safely.


The organization’s teams in the areas that are expecting snow, including the Hermon, Golan and Galil, Beitar Illit and Gush Etzion as well as Jerusalem, have prepared its teams in these areas to be able to continue their emergency response work should snowfall and roads begin to close.

President and Founder of the organization Eli Beer relayed: “United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center will be working with extra manpower in order to dispatch our volunteers to emergencies located in their nearby vicinity as quickly as possible. This is due to the extra challenge faced by ambulances and other emergency vehicles in reaching emergencies through snow-covered roads and finding alternate routes due to closed streets. In times like these, when every minute counts, we rely on the volunteers in each community to assist their neighbors during emergencies.”


Vice President of Transportation Ze’ev Sofer and Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel said: “The volunteers in our 4×4 Unit together with volunteers from Tofa’at Teva, are at the ready and will be dispatched by a specially designed mobile app based on the volunteer’s location and availability, which will dispatch them to an emergency appropriate for their vehicle. These emergencies can include cars that are stuck on the roads, people trapped inside vehicles or elevators, or any other medical emergency that regular responders cannot get to due to the elements.”

“Should road closures occur, the lifesaving activities of our volunteers will continue on 4×4 vehicles as well as on our ATV vehicles that we have spread across these areas where we expect to receive snowfall.”


United Hatzalah’s medical department issued the following instructions to pass through the storm safely:


  • Due to the extreme cold that is expected to hit, please refrain from extended exposure that can cause frostbite. Frostbite is a condition that can damage many layers of skin. It can leave scars and in severe cases can even cause gangrene. The parts of the body that are affected by frostbite are the extremities and the face: fingers, toes, the nose, and ears.


  • Another danger caused by extended exposure to severe cold is hypothermia, when the body’s temperature drops below normal to a dangerous degree that will cause bodily systems to begin shutting down. This usually occurs when a person’s body temperature falls below 35 degrees Celsius. Without treatment, hypothermia can result in death. One of the causes of hypothermia is bodily exposure to severe cold. While infections or diseases that inhibit the body’s ability to generate heat can cause hypothermia, exposure to severe cold is also a leading cause.


  • If there is a suspicion of hypothermia or frostbite, one should move the patient to a warm location and wrap him or her in blankets until emergency services arrive.


  • Wear protective and warm clothing if there is a need to go outside for any reason. After returning indoors, change all wet clothing and wear dry garments. Make sure clothing fits appropriately and does not cut off circulation, especially for small children.
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Man Successfully Revived at Western Wall During IDF Swearing in Ceremony

On Thursday evening during the swearing-in ceremony of the Kfir Brigade at the Kotel, a man spontaneously collapsed to the floor.  

Tair Aviani Carmi whose son was participating in the swearing-in ceremony, was in the crowd and standing just a few meters away from the man when he collapsed. Carmi is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT from the town of Baram in the Northern Galilee. She began calling for help and reported it to United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. The dispatcher immediately dispatched three other volunteers to the scene.

“I began treating the man who was the grandfather of one of the other soldiers in the ceremony.

It was surreal. Just as the man’s grandson screamed “I swear” he had no idea that his grandfather was undergoing CPR at that very moment,” Carmi said.  

Carmi began CPR treatment as other volunteers from the crowd and the area began to arrive. A defibrillator was attached to the man’s chest and three shocks were administered. The CPR was successful and the man’s pulse returned. He was then transported to the hospital via ambulance.

“It was very meaningful to me to be able to help save this man’s life. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery so that he can continue to celebrate with his grandson.”

After the immediate threat was over Carmi turned her attention to the traumatized family of the man to help offer them support as they had witnessed the entire incident.  

“I helped provide emotional support for the family, the man’s children and other grandchildren who came for the ceremony who saw the whole situation. They were in hysterics and I applied the knowledge that I learned from our Psychotrauma training to help calm the family and give them the emotional support that they needed at the time,” Carmi said. It was her second successful CPR this week.

Yosef Deshet who works in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh was one of the United Hatzalah volunteers who responded to the emergency. He raced downstairs from the Yeshiva which overlooks the Kotel plaza and grabbed the EMS kit located in the plaza. Deshet rushed over to where Aviani was treating the man who had collapsed.

“I rushed over and immediately began giving the man oxygen and assisted breathing while Aviani was doing the rest. I had no idea where she came from, I didn’t even know who she was, but we worked together like a well-oiled team. Other responders began to arrive and join our efforts. Together we proceeded to do a full CPR on the man including three shocks from a defibrillator. The man’s pulse returned and we put him on an ambulance and sent him off to the hospital. He was still receiving assisted breathing but his pulse was back and from what we saw his chances looked very positive.”  

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Treating a Mass Casualty Incident Alone

One recent evening, I went to visit my mother-in-law. I was suddenly alerted to a mass-casualty-incident in the region resulting from a violent feud between clans. I apologized to my mother-in-law, rushed out to my motorcycle, and started riding to the scene using local roads to avoid highway traffic.

Hassan at the scene of the incident

As I approached the location of the incident I hit heavy traffic on the local roads, caused by a police cordon of the area.  Fortunately, I was on my ambucycle that I had just received from United Hatzalah, enabling me to ride in between the cars and reach the patients in just a few moments. It took less than three minutes for me to reach the patients after first receiving the alert. The scene was chaotic. After taking stock of my surroundings to make sure the area was safe, I quickly assessed the situation and saw four people who suffered injuries. As the first responder on scene, I triaged the four victims who lay on the ground and began treating the one who looked like he needed help the most.


The first patient was semi-conscious. Luckily, I detected respiratory activity, so I raised his legs to increase the flow of oxygenated blood to his brain.  Moments later, he regained consciousness. I then attended to another victim who had been stabbed in the stomach. I put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding, then bandaged the wound and administered supplemental oxygen. As the man had lost a fair amount of blood, I opened an IV line to replenish the vital fluids he had lost.

With that patient now stable, I turned my attention to a third victim who had been shot in the hand.  I wiped away the blood and found that the wound was only superficial, as the bullet had not pierced the bone. I quickly bandaged his hand and moved on to the fourth victim, an older man with a head injury. The wound was minor but still bleeding, so I bandaged it and focused on helping him deal with shock, which was a greater cause for concern than his physical injury. I guided him through breathing exercises to calm him down.

I reassured all four of the traumatized victims and monitored their condition until the ambulances finally arrived nearly 30 minutes after me. I briefed the crew and helped transfer the victims into the ambulances.

As a nature lover, I love to travel outdoors. I drive a jeep and I’m often in the fields. That’s why United Hatzalah is a great fit for me. I get to help people and stay active. I became a volunteer EMT after encountering emergencies that in the fields, in forests, and on hiking trails. Until I became an EMT and United Hatzalah gave me all the equipment I need to do the job effectively, I wasn’t able to respond properly to off-road emergencies. Sometimes, I had no idea what to do. But now I can use my hobby and my skill set to help people wherever I am. It didn’t sit well with me that when emergencies would happen in an outdoor, remote setting, patients would often wait for hours for an ambulance crew or helicopter to arrive.  Now that I’m an EMT, patients in need near me get critical emergency care faster.

Hasan Masri is a lifeguard by profession and a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He lives in the town of Zemer and is one of the organization’s ambucycle drivers. Masri has been involved in EMS for many years.


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EMT Delivers New Year’s Baby On His Own Birthday

My name is Avner Ben David, and I learned this week that there is nothing better than helping to bring a new life into the world in the middle of your workday, especially when that workday is your own birthday as well. That is exactly what happened to me this past New Year’s Day.

I was in the middle of a meeting with two other people in the Bursa, Israel’s busy business district in the middle of Ramat Gan, discussing a project we are working on together for the military. Suddenly, my phone application alerted me to a medical emergency in my vicinity – a woman who was having a baby. I looked closer at the street address and realized that the emergency was taking place very close to my location. I apologized to the people I was meeting with and told them that I had to go and help the woman in active labor nearby. I got on my ambucycle and raced over.

When I arrived, the woman had already gone into labor and the baby was nearly on the way. I stopped the motorcycle, grabbed my medical kit and approached her immediately. I didn’t even turn off the ambucycle. Someone had already helped the woman down to the ground prior to my arrival. I cut away clothing that was an obstruction to a safe delivery so that the baby wouldn’t get caught in them or worse. a

As I paused to put on sterile medical gloves, another United Hatzalah volunteer arrived. He assisted as the woman gave birth to a girl. The baby wasn’t crying but she was breathing well and passed the APGAR test used to quickly assess the health of a newborn. I attached two clips to the umbilical cord and made the cut. The other volunteer wrapped up the baby and brought her back to her mother, whom I was finishing up treating.

When the ambulance arrived, we helped the mother and her new daughter get into the ambulance and head to the hospital for further care and observation. When I headed back to the office to continue my meeting, it struck me as unlikely that I should be called upon to deliver a baby on that day – New Year’s Day as well as my birthday. I suppose that day marked a new beginning in many different ways.  

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President Reuven Rivlin Visits United Hatzalah

On January 10th, 2019, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin visited United Hatzalah’s equipment and logistics center in the Ha Tuv Industrial Zone near Beit Shemesh. During the visit, President Rivlin spoke with numerous volunteers from the organization who came from all regions of the country to meet with him as well as with management of the organization.

President Rivlin receives a plaque from United Hatzalah honoring his visit

United Hatzalah is a national emergency medical service organization made up of 5,000 volunteers from all segments of the population in Israel that works directly under the Israeli Ministry of Health. In 2018, the organization responded to more than 300,000 medical emergencies and provided treatments in each of those cases completely free of charge. The organization has expanded beyond the borders of Israel in recent years and now has chapters in the United States, Ukraine, Panama, and Brazil. United Hatzalah’s Head of Government Relations, Shabtai Rappaport, spoke to him at length about the organization. 

“The Talmud teaches us that saving one life is as if a person saved the entire world. You save the lives of children, men, and women, 24-hours-a-day and 365 days a year,” President Rivlin said. “You are called United Hatzalah, even before the rescue (Hatzalah) comes the unity. Only here in your organization can one see a settler from Kiryat Arba, a secular person from Tel Aviv, a Satmar Chassid, and a Muslim Arab from east-Jerusalem working hand-in-hand, together, in full partnership and equality. And all of this is being done with one goal in mind: saving lives.”

After meeting with numerous volunteers and hearing about their activities, each in their own region, the President thanked them for their efforts. “I see you and volunteers like you on the roadways on your way to respond to emergencies, just like all other citizens of Israel. You are always ready to respond to an emergency at any time. You are an integral part of the Israeli mosaic. On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I wish to thank you for your dedication, your sacrifice, and for the dedicated and professional treatment which you provide to every patient no matter who they are.”   

After meeting the volunteers President Rivlin was given a tour of the logistics center and was able to see all of the different vehicles that the organization uses to save lives.

President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said after the event: “United Hatzalah’s network of volunteers comes from all segments of Israeli society and includes Jews, Arabs, Druze, Bedouin, secular and religious, men and women, and everyone works together to provide the fastest emergency medical care available free of charge. Thus, they are realizing the President’s Four Tribes Initiative by working together to save lives. The act of saving lives bridges the differences that we face in today’s society and brings everyone together, shoulder to shoulder with a unified purpose.”

Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/ GPO


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Israeli Expertise Used To Train India and Sri Lanka First Responders

The AJC and United Hatzalah are teaming up to train first responders in India and Sri Lanka in mass casualty incidents and disaster management. The mission, which is being funded by the AJC, is bringing five experts from United Hatzalah of Israel to numerous locations throughout India and Sri Lanka to help train members of local response organizations in how to provide quick and effective emergency response to large-scale emergencies ranging from natural disasters to terror attacks.

Local participants in the mission include the Indian Red Cross, 108 emergency system (India’s 911) and local responders such as Fire and Rescue as well as emergency medical service (EMS) crews from each of the cities participating.


The mission began on Sunday in Gurugram and continued on to New Delhi where the United Hatzalah team gave frontal lectures to dozens of emergency responders and then held a combined training drill for all of the participants, guiding them through the procedures used in Israel.

“It is eye-opening to see how emergency response systems work in different countries and how much we can share with one another and learn from each other,” said Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel who is leading the mission. “The teams in India are professional and are excellent at providing assistance. They even had a few fire rescue motorcycle which are similar to what we use in Israel to arrive at emergencies faster. We are adding to their already existing knowledge base numerous styles of emergency triage and disaster management from a number of different angles as our team is comprised of EMS experts and well as some of Israel’s elite Search and Rescue professionals who have been at disasters all over the globe.”

The AJC and United Hatzalah mission is working with local EMS providers in New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

After the second day into the 12-day mission, Maisel said that the trip has been educational in both directions. “We came here to teach the styles of emergency management and interoperability between agencies that we use in Israel. We were asked to come by local officials after they toured our Dispatch and Command Center in Jerusalem last year. While the point of the mission is for us to train the local teams here with our skill set, they have been incredibly receptive of the material and have taught us a few techniques that we hope to bring back to Israel as well. International partnerships such as these are always opportunities to both teach and learn new ways of doing things more efficiently and helping patients in both countries faster and in a more effective manner.”

The mission which commenced this past Sunday will be returning to Israel next Friday.

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When the Ambulances Don’t Get There Fast Enough You Need to Step Up and Help

Shlomo Tausky works for a non-profit organization known as Ezer M’Tzion. He is married with two children and lives in Haifa. In addition to his work, Shlomo volunteers with United Hatzalah as an EMT and also serves as the Deputy Head of the Carmel Region. He has been an EMT volunteer for the past three years.   

Shlomo Tausky

A few weeks ago, a man was shopping at a store in Haifa and suddenly fell to the floor in a fit of seizures. The frightened store owner quickly called for emergency services to come and help the man. Shlomo was on his ambucycle when United Hatzalah’s dispatch alerted him to the nearby emergency. He immediately gunned his engine and raced to the scene. He was the first responder on site. As he parked in front of the shop and grabbed his medical kit, Shlomo saw a municipal ambulance coming towards the location.

The shopkeeper met Shlomo at the door and led him to where the man was convulsing on the floor. Shlomo secured the man’s airway and carefully protected his head during the elongated bout of seizures. After some minutes had passed, Shlomo wondered what was taking the ambulance crew so long to arrive. As he was attending to still convulsing patient, Shlomo asked the shopkeeper to call dispatch and enquire about the ambulance. A minute later the shopkeeper told Shlomo that the ambulance had responded to a car accident and that an intensive care ambulance was on its way from Kiryat Ata a town northeast of Haifa.

As an experienced EMT, Shlomo knew that the man’s elongated seizures could result in brain damage or even death due to lack of oxygen and that it would take an unacceptable amount of time for the mobile intensive care unit to arrive from Kiryat Ata. He told the shopkeeper to immediately request any available ambulance in the area to rush to the scene. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived, but with only the driver.

Shlomo and the driver quickly lifted the still convulsing man onto a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance. As the ambulance was short-staffed, Shlomo rode along to the hospital to safeguard the patient during transport. He and the driver rushed the still-convulsing man into the emergency room, and Shlomo updated the treating physician as to the length and severity of the man’s seizures. It took two doses of anti-epileptic medication for the man to finally stop convulsing. One of the nurses came to thank Shlomo – she said if he had not gotten to the man to the hospital as soon as he had – the patient most likely would not have survived.

Following the incident, Shlomo said: “Saving lives gives me a feeling of satisfaction to know that I help others on a regular basis. I began learning about emergency medicine as part of a family safety course that I took with United Hatzalah for my own personal reasons so that I would know how to help my family. At the time I was working partly in a bank in Haifa, and I sensed a commotion happening behind me. I got up to look at what was happening. I saw a woman standing in the middle of the room and she was choking. This was shocking to me to see a woman choking right in front of my eyes.

Everyone was standing up and no one seemed to know what to do. I thought someone for sure would know what to do or know how to help her better than I would but no one moved. I moved. I ran to her and performed the Heimlich maneuver. My actions saved her life. After she successfully dislodged the blockage from her windpipe, she calmed down and by the time the ambulance arrived, she refused their services and because by that time she was fine and the danger was over.

When they opened the next EMS course in Haifa I signed up knowing that in the time of need, I need to know what to do, because if not me, who else will.

I began as a volunteer as I wanted to help save lives. The heads of the chapter saw that I was interested and that I was hard working. They gave me an ambucycle, and then they asked me to be the deputy head of the region. I knew saving lives was important and I thought that if I could help others do what I did, then my family, my community, and other communities would be safer. I didn’t expect to be put in charge of 200 other volunteers. I am happy that I am because the work I do now saves even more lives. From one small course of four hours, I ended up becoming a force multiplier to save countless others, and all because of knowing what to do and how to do it when the time came. The message I learned that day is that we all have a responsibility to help others and that often there isn’t enough time to wait for an ambulance. When people suffer a medical emergency they need help right then and there and I am thankful to United Hatzalah for teaching me, equipping me and empowering me to be the one to step up and help.”


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