On Saturday night, over 150 United Hatzalah volunteers converged in a convoy of ambulances and ambucycles from the Saharov Gardens to the organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem for a Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony that spotlighted the ongoing captivity of United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Dolev Yehud, who was abducted by Hamas on October 7th. With Dolev’s family in attendance, the giant Menorah was lit, accompanied by prayers for his safety and pleas for his immediate return.
Dolev was with his family in their saferoom in Kibbutz Nir Oz when he selflessly left its safety to assist the many injured during the attack. Tragically, Hamas terrorists captured and kidnapped him along with his sister Arbel and her partner Ariel. They have been held in captivity in Gaza ever since.
Chana Lavi, Dolev, and Arbel’s grandmother, expressed the family’s anguish, stating, “65 days ago, Dolev went out to save lives and never came back. This is not how I envisioned Chanukah; this is not how I envisioned the moving moment of candle lighting. We demand their immediate return. Every day that passes seals their fate.”
Dani Shmuel, Head of the Gaza Periphery Branch at United Hatzalah, reflected on Dolev’s commitment, saying, “Just before October 7th, we awarded Dolev with the Prize of Excellence for his commitment to saving lives. He would respond to calls day and night, at all hours, constantly putting others’ needs above his own. On October 7th, he went out to save lives and did not return. When I tried to reach him over the radio on that Shabbat and he didn’t respond, I’m confident it was because he was busy treating the injured. Dolev, if you can hear me, know that we all miss you, and we anxiously await your safe return.”
CEO of United Hatzalah Eli Pollak urged the Red Cross to fulfill its responsibility as a medical organization, stating, “In addition to the fact that Dolev was kidnapped and your duty is to care for all of the hostages’ welfare, he is also a volunteer medic, and you have a special obligation towards him.” Pollak also called on the Red Cross to visit Dolev, provide him with necessary medical attention, and extend care to all hostages remaining in Hamas captivity. Highlighting Dolev’s selfless dedication to helping others during his volunteer work, Pollak expressed, “We all wish, pray, and hope that Dolev and all of the hostages will return home quickly, and we will have the privilege to light candles with them this Chanukah.”