On January 10th, 2019, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin visited United Hatzalah’s equipment and logistics center in the Ha Tuv Industrial Zone near Beit Shemesh. During the visit, President Rivlin spoke with numerous volunteers from the organization who came from all regions of the country to meet with him as well as with management of the organization.

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President Rivlin receives a plaque from United Hatzalah honoring his visit

United Hatzalah is a national emergency medical service organization made up of 5,000 volunteers from all segments of the population in Israel that works directly under the Israeli Ministry of Health. In 2018, the organization responded to more than 300,000 medical emergencies and provided treatments in each of those cases completely free of charge. The organization has expanded beyond the borders of Israel in recent years and now has chapters in the United States, Ukraine, Panama, and Brazil. United Hatzalah’s Head of Government Relations, Shabtai Rappaport, spoke to him at length about the organization. 

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“The Talmud teaches us that saving one life is as if a person saved the entire world. You save the lives of children, men, and women, 24-hours-a-day and 365 days a year,” President Rivlin said. “You are called United Hatzalah, even before the rescue (Hatzalah) comes the unity. Only here in your organization can one see a settler from Kiryat Arba, a secular person from Tel Aviv, a Satmar Chassid, and a Muslim Arab from east-Jerusalem working hand-in-hand, together, in full partnership and equality. And all of this is being done with one goal in mind: saving lives.”

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After meeting with numerous volunteers and hearing about their activities, each in their own region, the President thanked them for their efforts. “I see you and volunteers like you on the roadways on your way to respond to emergencies, just like all other citizens of Israel. You are always ready to respond to an emergency at any time. You are an integral part of the Israeli mosaic. On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I wish to thank you for your dedication, your sacrifice, and for the dedicated and professional treatment which you provide to every patient no matter who they are.”   

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After meeting the volunteers President Rivlin was given a tour of the logistics center and was able to see all of the different vehicles that the organization uses to save lives.

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President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said after the event: “United Hatzalah’s network of volunteers comes from all segments of Israeli society and includes Jews, Arabs, Druze, Bedouin, secular and religious, men and women, and everyone works together to provide the fastest emergency medical care available free of charge. Thus, they are realizing the President’s Four Tribes Initiative by working together to save lives. The act of saving lives bridges the differences that we face in today’s society and brings everyone together, shoulder to shoulder with a unified purpose.”

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Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/ GPO


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