At a special Hanukka ceremony at the President’s Residence on Monday, President Reuven Rivlin paid tribute to Israel’s first responders, whom he praised as the country’s “eternal light in the darkness.”
The president invited representatives of ZAKA, United Hatzalah, and Magen David Adom so that he could thank them personally for their devotion to the sanctity of life and their 24/7 willingness to rush to the scene of any disaster in the hope of being able to save a life or to collect body parts that may have been scattered in a terrorist attack.
Of some 100 people representing all three volunteer organizations, the overwhelming majority were haredi paramedics distinguished by their black velvet kippot, beards and ritual fringes trailing over their trousers. All three organizations also have Christian, Muslim, and Druse volunteers.
Passersby might have wondered whether a mishap had taken place inside the presidential compound, given the number of Hatzalah ambucycles (motor scooters with medical equipment) and ZAKA vans parked outside. There were also quite a lot ambucycles inside the complex.
United Hatzalah, which was founded in 2006, now has more than 2,500 emergency medical technicians and paramedics engaged in lifesaving work across the country.
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