(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
It would not have been difficult under any circumstances to persuade the staff
of the President’s Residence to give blood at a time when Magen David Adom’s
stocks are running low, but this time they had a special reason to do
The daughter of a former longtime presidential staffer needs blood,
and the staff at the President’s Residence, – including every rank and age group
– decided to come to her aid and to set an example for the rest of the country
at the start of the annual MDA campaign.
The president’s security detail
organized its roster in order to be able to participate in the daylong
humanitarian endeavor. Some 100 people – including former staff members – along
with spouses and offspring happily stood in line to give blood.
Shimon Peres, escorted by MDA CEO Eli Bin walked around the main reception room
at the Jerusalem residence, which had been transformed into a clinic with four
After individually greeting the large number of MDA
personnel, the president asked questions of Bin such as whether there was a
difference between male and female blood. Peres asked each of the four staff
members who was in the process of donating blood how he or she felt, and told
them how proud he was of them for taking part in such a good deed.
the donors was Yosef Avi Yair Engel, otherwise known as “Jucha,” who, with
camera in hand, trails Peres wherever he goes.
Engel had photographed him
earlier with some of the MDA people, but he missed snapping him on his rounds to
the prostrate donors, because he himself was giving blood at the
Peres has given blood in the past, but did not do so on this
occasion because the cut-off age for blood donations in Israel is 70, and the
president is 89.
However, he quoted his mentor David Ben-Gurion, who when
asked about the essence of Judaism used to cite the biblical injunction to “Love
thy neighbor as thyself.”
Giving blood, said Peres, was one of the best
examples of loving one’s neighbor.
He also praised MDA for the noble,
life saving work it does.
MDA recently opened a new emergency station in
Jerusalem with the anticipation that some 20,000 residents and visitors will
donate blood each year. Of the capital’s population of 780,000, some 25,000
people are registered donors.
Bin said that he was greatly encouraged by
the willingness of the President’s Residence staff to give blood, especially
because the MDA supplies had been depleted over the summer.
hopeful that the effort would be emulated in other institutions of the state,
and he was appreciative of the president’s support in launching this year’s
campaign for blood donations.
Both Bin and Peres pointed out that on
average MDA distributes 1,400 units of blood per day.