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Why Did Alan Dershowitz Decide To Ride an Ambucycle for His 80th Birthday
Alan Dershowitz was in Israel last week to attend the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. As part of his trip, he visited the United Hatzalah headquarters in Jerusalem, an organization whose international board he sits on.
Dershowitz isn’t the type of person who typically rides motorcycles. Yet, on the morning of the day that the embassy opened, Dershowitz rode one of the organization’s iconic ambucycles, (a motorcycle equipped with all of the gear that a regular ambulance carries) and was driven from his hotel across the city of Jerusalem with three other friends, one of whom was Isy Danon. Danon, a South African philanthropist who honored Dershowitz by donating $180,000 to the organization had Dershowitz forever inscribed on the Wall of Founders in the main lobby of the building.
Dershowitz has admittedly never ridden on a motorcycle before, and as he and four of his friends are all celebrating their 80th birthdays this year, the group got together to donate one to United Hatzalah. The Founder and President of United Hatzalah, Eli Beer, felt it would be fitting to have Dershowitz ride on one of the ambucycles so that he could feel for himself how useful these vehicles are when it comes to getting through traffic and cutting down response times in order to save lives.
At the headquarters, Danon recounted the story of how Dershowitz introduced him to the organization. “I recall that you told me that you are approached on a daily basis by organizations who ask you to sit as the Chairman of their boards and that you turn them all down, and that you refuse to have your name associated with any organization officially except for United Hatzalah.”
Dershowitz himself picked up the narrative and added,” I do that because I really don’t like to sit on boards. But Eli Beer told me that if I sit on the board of United Hatzalah that he could guarantee me that my service would end up saving lives. So I said to myself, how can I say no to that?”
Dershowitz also shared some advice that he tells people whom he meets who are looking to celebrate a festive occasion. “My friends and I are all turning 80 and we are chipping in together to buy an ambucycle. Everywhere I go all over the U.S. whenever I hear of people celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah, I tell them not to buy another gift that will sit in a drawer somewhere unused but buy an ambucycle. If you can’t do that buy a (Bluebird) field communication device or something that is used to save a life. There is no better gift in the world than something that saves a life.
Beer asked Dershowitz to speak about the historical nature of the day with the Embassy moving to Jerusalem. Dershowitz said: “I had dinner with President Donald Trump some months ago and he asked me my opinion on this. I told him that I felt that it was even more mandatory now than ever before especially after the United Nations Security Council declared the Kotel and the Jewish Quarter illegal and not part of Jerusalem. I told him that now in order to level the playing field and make peace possible, you have to recognize the reality that Jerusalem is and has been the capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people for centuries, for millennia. Now, finally, the world is recognizing what we have all known forever, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
Lyle, Dershowitz’s grandson who also accompanied the visit, read a letter that was written by President Reuven Rivlin to Dershowitz praising his efforts for the betterment of Israel and the Jewish people. Following the recitation and the unveiling of his plaque, Dershowitz got to see the actual ambucycle that he and his friends had donated.
After the visit Beer said: “It is because of the hard work and support of our board members and supporters like Alan Dershowitz, Isy Danon, and Mark Gerson, all of whom were here with us today, that we can continue our mission of saving lives in Israel. We are honored to have you here and be able to show you first-hand what it is like to ride through the streets of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, in a race to save lives.”
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