“We are deeply touched.” These were the words that U.S. Ambassador David Friedman told the President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer during a visit to the organization’s headquarters on Sunday. Ambassador Friedman said that both he and his wife Tammy, who was also present for the visit, were touched by the generosity of well-known philanthropists Isy Danon from South Africa and Rabbi Erica and Mark Gerson from the United States who donated rooms in the newly renovated headquarters of the organization in honor of the Ambassador and his wife.
Danon and the Gerson’s both said that the reason for the donation was to honor the couple who changed the Middle East forever.
“This is the beginning of our ‘farewell week’,” said Friedman. “We started our visits in the Knesset this morning, where we received beautiful words and blessings. The Prime Minister and the members of the cabinet said their farewells. Now we are here (at United Hatzalah) and it is appropriate. This is just as important as our relationship with the government because this is our relationship with the people of Israel. Nothing better symbolizes the people of Israel than United Hatzalah.”
Friedman went on to emphasize the unity that permeates the organization as one of the contributing factors to its success. “This organization keeps people healthy and keeps them united. That is the meaning of the name “Ichud” in Hebrew – United. That’s what you’ve done. You’ve united the entire state of Israel. Jews, Christians, Muslims, both religious and secular, people of all different beliefs and views, and they all stand together with you. It is really the best of what Israel has to offer and it is so fitting that as we complete our official job here, that this is part of the farewell tour.”
Friedman acknowledged the donations in his and his wife’s honor and said, “This donation means the world to us. As we have spent the last few years living in Jerusalem we have seen first-hand the work of United Hatzalah, and the good deeds of its volunteers, and as one of the residents of this city I would like to say thank you for all that you do.”
Towards the end of his visit, Ambassador Friedman spoke about Sheldon Adelson, a huge supporter of Israel and of United Hatzalah as well. “Nobody can fill Sheldon’s shoes. He was the greatest philanthropist in the history of the Jewish people. I’ve done the math, and as great as Moses Montefiore and Baron Rothschild were, there is no one who has been a greater philanthropist or a greater help to the Jewish People than Sheldon Adelson. So we lost a man who is not just one in a generation, but the likes of whom only come around once in a millennium. Sheldon was a man who committed his life to help the success of the Jewish people. He had an incredible family, especially his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, who will continue his legacy.”
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer wished the Friedmans well and thanked them for taking the time to visit the organization one last time on an official visit as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. “You have been friends of the organization and supported the work we do for a very long time. I cannot say enough about how meaningful it is to me and to all of the volunteers of our organization who are out there saving lives every day, that you took the time during your final week to show your support for their efforts. The volunteers who make up United Hatzalah from all backgrounds in Israel are the most vital component of our organization. Having you come to show them your support during your final week here as the Ambassador sends a very strong message to all 6,000 plus volunteers about how meaningful their work is to the people of Israel and beyond. I want to thank you both for doing it and I am thrilled that both Isy Danon and Rabbi Erica and Mark Gerson feel the same way.”
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