The Jerusalem Municipality honored exemplary first responders on Wednesday at a special ceremony that took place at City Hall. Among the honorees presented with citations from the city for their exemplary service, were select volunteers from the police, fire department, ambulance organizations and United Hatzalah EMS organization. Chosen from among the more than 350 United Hatzalah first responders in the city, four were chosen for having gone above and beyond the call of duty.

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The four honorees stand together with President Eli Beer and Board Member in Charge of Muslim Volunteer Operations Murad Aliyan from United Hatzalah – Credit – Avishai Bar Yishai

Nadel Sadir, a Palestinian EMT who lives in the Old City of Jerusalem in a house that borders the Temple Mount, was the first responder at the scene during the terror attack that occurred on the Temple Mount last summer. Working under fire, he treated police officers who were injured in the incident and did not hesitate to save lives then or on any other day, regardless of who those lives belonged to.

Avrumie Calek is an Ultra-Orthodox volunteer EMT and ambucycle driver. He is married and a father of five who lives in Kiryat Yovel. In addition to volunteering as an EMT and responding to countless emergency calls in his area, he also volunteers with the organization’s Ten Kavod project and visits elderly patients who live on their own at least once a week, in order to check up on them, provide them with basic health care and some much needed companionship. Calek has developed close relationships with the patients he visits and feels that they are almost like his own family.

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Gitty Beer receiving the citation of excellence from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

Amit Kahn is a secular Jewish volunteer who is married and a father of three. He lives in Jerusalem’s southern neighborhood of Gonenim an area that doesn’t have a lot of first responders. Kahn is one of the most active volunteers and responds to multiple emergencies per day, no matter the time, day or night. Because of his location in the southern part of the city, and his being an ambucycle driver, Kahn is constantly rushing out to save lives.

The fourth person to receive the citation from the city is the person who has given far more than most towards saving the lives of people whom she has never met. Her name is Gitty Beer, and in addition to being the wife of Eli Beer, the Founder and President of United Hatzalah, and being a volunteer EMT in her own right, Gitty began a woman’s unit within the organization that trains and facilitates women from all over the city to become first responders. The women’s unit is especially active, although not limited to, communities in which there are more stringent social mores regarding modesty and privacy such as the Muslim and Ultra-Orthodox communities in the city. Gitty’s unit is empowering women from these communities, as well as other women from across the city, to become emergency medical first responders and receive the training that they need to save lives when called upon. This unit is not only saving patients by creating a faster response in their own communities, but it is also empowering the first responders themselves to take a more active role in the healthcare and wellbeing of their families and communities.

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Honorees stand together with Murad Aliyah holding their citations of excellence. Credit – Avishai Bar Yishai

“I began the women’s unit more than two years ago and we already have close to 200 women participating. The unit has expanded beyond the city of Jerusalem and has begun operating in other cities such as Bnei Brak, Beitar, Modi’in Illit and Beit Shemesh. Our volunteers not only provide first aid to all patients, men and women alike but give an extra level of comfort to female patients who would rather be treated by a woman, especially in communities where interaction between the genders is not commonplace. I am proud to receive this award on behalf of United Hatzalah together with such inspiring individuals such as Nadal, Avrumie, and Amit. It is really meaningful to have the work of our unit and of our organization recognized for the difference that they have made for the people of Jerusalem.”

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