Magen David Adom has lost funding to operate the majority of its stations in the
West Bank, the ambulance service said on Thursday, citing an NIS 5 million
shortfall in appropriations from the state.
An MDA spokesman said the
impending closure of 13 West Bank ambulance stations out of the agency’s 17
stations there is unrelated to pressure by the International Committee of the
Red Cross, which has been highly critical of MDA’s operations in the West Bank.
Still, the loss of funding comes only weeks before an international monitor is
scheduled to issue a report about MDA’s compliance with ICRC
MDA is in negotiations with the Health and Defense ministries
in an attempt to resecure its funding for West Bank operations. A spokeswoman
for the Health Ministry said the budget cut “jeopardizes” MDA’s actions in the
West Bank, adding that it is the responsibility of the regional development
minister to provide the additional funding. A spokesman for that ministry was
not available for comment.
Yonatan Yagodovsky, who directs MDA’s
international relations and fund-raising, told The Jerusalem Post the
organization has no interest in closing its stations. “We are clearly stating
MDA would like to continue to provide the services,” Yagodovsky said. “It’s very
hard for Magen David Adom to say ‘guys, we can’t provide the services.’ It’s
against the core of our organization.”
MDA has been facing pressure from
the ICRC to defer emergency response in the West Bank to the Palestinian Red
Crescent. MDA has disputed the ICRC’s analysis and argues that it is permitted
to operate stations in areas where Israelis live. A Geneva-based representative
of the ICRC did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.
event, MDA said it plans to continue responding to emergency calls in the West
Bank whether or not it has all of its physical stations there.
Dilmoni, deputy CEO of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and
the Gaza Strip, said he is hopeful that the funding will not be
“It’s not only for us. It’s for the soldiers. It’s for the
It’s not only [an issue for] the Israelis in Judea and
Samaria,” he said.
If MDA closes its stations in the West Bank, United
Hatzalah is preparing to take its place, according to Hatzalah founder Eli
“We’re not going to let anyone be in danger,” he told the Post. “If
they need to open stations that are closed, we will go in there with our people
and bring ambulances and open stations.”
MDA said it would spend the next
two weeks evaluating alternatives before it makes a final decision on the fate
of its West Bank stations.