On Thursday, Israel’s volunteer EMS first responder organization Founder and President Eli Beer was presented with the prestigious Humanitarian Values Award. The presentation occurred in Manhattan at the fourth annual Jewish Values Award ceremony.

Eli Beer and the Crowned Prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi at the  Jewish Values Award ceremony
Eli Beer and the Crowned Prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi at the Jewish Values Award ceremony

Beer took the stage to receive the prestigious award riding an iconic ambucycle used by United Hatzalah volunteers around Israel. The implementation of the ambucycle has cut down EMS response time across the country to an average of three minutes. Currently the organization has some 400 ambucycles, which still falls short of the necessary 800 ambucycles needed to reduce EMS response time to 90 seconds across the country. After being called up to the stage, Beer refused to accept the award on his own.

“You know, really, I don’t deserve this. The 3,000 volunteers in Israel do. They are the ones who sacrifice their lives, their family and their time to respond to emergency calls and treat 700 people each day in times of peace and times of war. They are the ones who deserve this award.”

Before continuing, Eli recounted the story of how, as a child, he saw a bus explode in front of his eyes and decided to dedicate his life to saving lives. He then called upon United Hatzalah volunteer paramedics  Dovy Maisel and Khaled Rishek (who is an Arab volunteer), on to the stage. “I don’t want to get this award by myself. I want to call two volunteers from Israel on stage”.

Beer proceeded to talk about the recent bus bombing that occurred in April in Jerusalem. The bus that was attacked was a number 12 bus, the same bus line that Eli saw explode when he was a child. “I want to thank Khaled and the other 10 Arab volunteers, among many others who raced to the scene to help treat injured Jewish people.” Beer then gave the award to Khaled and said “it is really you, and the other volunteers like you who should get this award”.

Following his presentation, Beer met with some of the other honorees of the evening, among them the crowned prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi, who is a popular figure among the Persian Jewish community both in the United States and Iran. Beer presented the Crowned Prince with special Israeli commemorative stamp collection and they posed together for a picture expressing the bonds of friendship that are forming between the two of them due to their shared values of saving lives.

Other honored guests at the event included Turkish-American cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist from the Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens, Member of Knesset Amir Ohana (Likud), U.S. Congressman Edward Royce, Professor Rebecca Kook, Son of Saul actor Geza Rohrig, and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson.

The Gala event was sponsored by the World Values Network and was hosted by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, Niny Falic, and Mona and David Sterling. The MC for the evening was Rabbi Shmuely Boteach.