Aid worker Gabi Barsheshit, who volunteers with United Hatzalah as well as the Israelife Search and Rescue Squad of Megillot, has been selected to light one of the torches at this year’s national Independence day celebrations.
Barsheishet coordinated and led the Israelife humanitarian mission to Nepal last April after a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the Asian country. The Joint Israelife Disaster Response team included members from Israeli rescue organizations United Hatzalah, ZAKA, and F.I.R.S.T in the earthquake-damaged regions west of Kathmandu, and aided in searches for missing Israeli tourists. The team found and recovered the body of Israeli hiker Or Asraf who was killed during the earthquake.
Founder of United Hatzalah and President of Israelife Foundation Eli Beer praised the selection and the important work that Barsheishet does for both organizations. “We are so happy the Barsheishet has been selected to light a torch. I’ve known Gabi from the days we used to volunteer as kids over 25 years ago. Not only does he work in United Hatzalah but he also works in the urban search and rescue unit supported by Israelife. He is a close friend and colleague. And when we needed to choose people to go to nepal we asked Gabi to head the team due to his professionalism and proven excellence over the years. There is no better person who can represent United Hatzalah and the search and rescue units in Israel. I am so happy about his being selected.”
Barsheishet has been involved with United Hatzalah since its inception in 2006 and was pleasantly surprised by his appointment. “ United Hatzalah is a wonderful organization and it really deserved someone lighting a torch a few years ago. The organization is truly a worthy one and I feel very honored to be representing it as well as Israelife and the search and rescue squad of Megillot in having been selected to light a torch this year.”
Barsheishet had nothing but praise for the organizations he works for. “I really connect to the ideology and values that United Hatzalah and Israelife represent. I was appointed the head of the mission to Nepal from United Hatzalah and from Zaka and Israelife and the work we did there was incredibly helpful and we managed to save a lot of people. United Hatzalah opens its doors to anyone who wants to save a life to join the organization, and I as one of the first secular Jews to join United Hatzalah am very proud to be a part of the lifesaving work that it does.”
Barsheishet lives in Kfar Adumim together with his five children and wife Liat. Liat, who is religious works as the principal of a mixed religious and secular school in Tzur Hadassah. Gabi himself has done a lot of work bridging the secular and religious communities in Israel, both in the Biynamin region as well as other areas of the country where he works. “United Hatzalah and Israelife’s philosophy of inclusiveness is something that I very much connect with and work to bring about in other areas of my life as well.”