Magen David Adom will be able to continue providing full service to residents of the West Bank.
On Thursday, the emergency medical services organization put out a statement informing the public that after weeks of negotiations between Israeli government officials and representatives of MDA, the government agreed to fully release funds allocated for MDA to provide the enhanced EMS services the organization provides in Judea and Samaria.
“Years ago, because of heightened concerns about security and the distances between communities in Yesha, the Israeli government asked MDA to provide enhanced services in Judea and Samaria, to allocate resources greater than what would normally be provided for an area with 400,000 Israelis,” said Ronen Bashari, MDA’s head of operations. “Despite that we were providing services there each year at a cost to us of 13.6 million shekels [about $3.8 million], our reimbursements from the government have dwindled to 7.5 million shekels a year.
“With this agreement, our services there will be fully funded for 2019, easing the financial pressure Magen David Adom has been under while we’ve continued to fully provide EMS services there.”
In January of last year, MDA announced that it would halt the functioning of some of its ambulances during the night shift due to budgetary constraints. Instead, MDA said it would require the heads of the settlements to take responsibility for treating and evacuating sick and injured people as they did before the national ambulance and first-aid service took it over. MDA retracted its statements but entered into negotiations with the government.
MDA has a large fleet of ambulances operated by paid staffers and volunteers, whose services must by be paid for by law; the organization is paid even for services provided by its volunteers.
“We are committed to the health and safety of Israelis in Judea and Samaria,” Bashari said, “just as we are committed to the health of all of Israel’s citizens. So we are delighted with this decision.”