Although it began 30 years ago as an organization of Orthodox Jewish male emergency medics in Jerusalem, the nationwide volunteer group United Hatzalah (UH) has just added 30 new Arab medics from east Jerusalem so they can upgrade the level of urgent care in the Arab part of the capital.
A ceremony marking their completion of a medics course in Arabic was held on Wednesday night at the YMCA building in King David Street. Two east Jerusalem doctors have also joined UH to help upgrade the level of emergency medical care available to Arab residents.
Until now, emergency medical care there was seriously hampered by the security requirements for police escort of responding ambulances, unmarked and inaccessible alleyways along with simple communication barriers, said UH founder and chairman Eli Beer.
All the medics are community-based and rush to treat the sick and hurt from wherever they are located after being alerted.
Their identification vests sport the new Arabic-and English-language United Hatzalah logo (without Hebrew), and each medic received a first-response bag containing advanced equipment and supplies. They also received MIRS communication devices linked to the UH control center.