Today, the President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer met with the President of the United States Joe Biden during Biden’s solidarity visit to Israel. Following Biden’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the war cabinet, the U.S. President proceeded to meet with representatives of the families of hostages, with survivors of the massacre, and with Eli Beer, the President and Founder of United Hatzalah, Israel’s leading volunteer-based EMS organization as well as other first responders who were on the ground in the days following Hamas’ attack.

“The President embraced me,” Beer recounted after the meeting. “I was deeply moved and shed tears. He wanted to know exactly what United Hatzalah volunteers, who were in the conflict zones from the onset of the war, told me about the scenes there. I told him about our 7,000 volunteers, orange angels, many of whom are U.S. citizens and represent the diverse spectrum of Israeli society. I told him that our volunteers consist of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, both religious and secular, men and women, who upon hearing of what had happened, even before understanding the full scale of the disaster, left everything behind and entered the inferno, risking their own lives to save others. I also conveyed that some of our volunteers were wounded and kidnapped, along with two beloved volunteers, one Arab and one Jewish, who lost their lives while providing assistance to the injured. The President was deeply moved and said that he personally knows the pain of loss and feels the pain of the people of Israel in a personal way. I expressed my pride in being Jewish, and told him that we love him, and that his coming to Israel uplifted the whole spirit of this country. I then thanked him for his support which is unparalleled since the establishment of the state of Israel. I also told him that nearly 50 percent of our funding comes from U.S. donors and that I am very proud of the support that we receive from the American people.”

“The President of the United States was shocked by the horrors our volunteers witnessed,” Beer added. “He requested I extend condolences to the families of the deceased volunteers, thanked United Hatzalah volunteers and their numerous supporters on behalf of the American people, and conveyed his admiration for their tremendous dedication.”

“As we parted ways, President Biden left me with a sentence I will forever remember: ‘You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist.’”