Last week Thursday night, as Israel’s Independence Day was coming to a close, a few hundred people gathered in a banquet hall on the edge of the coastal city of Bat Yam. The banquet hall, Sunset Hall, is one of the city’s finest by the sea and was donated to Israel’s national volunteer emergency medical services organization, United Hatzalah, for their use of the premises in dedicating some 70 ambucycles to be added to its fleet of lifesaving vehicles.

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Director of United Hatzalah’s Transportation Department Zeev Sofer poses with the new ambucycles

Dozens of donors from Israel and around the world got together to donate the money needed to purchase and equip the ambucycles that will now serve communities around the country. The total value of the 70 ambucycles with all of the medical equipment and insurance required to operate them is more than 9 million shekel.

The evening culminated a week-long trip that the organization held for donors from around the world, which took the more than 30 participants to see some of the locations where new ambucycles would be used, which includes, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Gush Etzion Sderot and more. The trip, as well as the dedication of the new fleet of ambucycles,  were held in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday. The tour took the participants to see the activities of some of the close to 5,000 volunteers who are part of the lifesaving network that the organization has built throughout the country.

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On each of the 70 ambucycles is written a year of Israel’s history, from 1948 through 2018, as donors were able to select whichever year from Israel’s history meant something to them and donate the vehicle for that year. The new ambucycles will enter service in the coming days and serve as a significant boost to the already existing fleet of 650 ambucycles. This dramatic increase in emergency vehicles will result in lower EMS response times across Israel.

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President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “I want to personally thank all of the supporters and friends of the organization who joined us to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday. I am moved every time I see the love and support that you show for the State of Israel and the concern you share for the well being of its citizens. I am glad that you have decided to choose the gift of lifesaving to donate towards. It is because of your generosity, that many injured and sick people across Israel have been able to receive fast and professional medical care. These gifts are helping us obtain the goal that we have set for ourselves, which is to arrive at the scene of every medical emergency and begin helping everyone suffering in less than 90 seconds.