United Hatzalah receives donation of bulletproof vests

Defense Minister Benny Gantz was in attendance at a ceremony to mark the donation event.

 Defense Minister Benny Gantz takes part in ceremony for the donation of bulletproof vests to United Hatzalah. (photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz takes part in ceremony for the donation of bulletproof vests to United Hatzalah.
(photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)

A total of 1,500 sets of ceramic bulletproof vests and helmets have been donated to United Hatzalah (UH) to protect their volunteers. Defense Minister Benny Gantz attended a ceremony on Sunday to mark the event at the Jerusalem headquarters of the largest independent and nonprofit emergency medical service organization in Israel.

The organization, which has 6,200 volunteers from across the country, already has 2,000 sets, so the additional equipment will cover more than half of them. Each of the sets costs $800.

The minister, joined by MKs Yael Ron Ben-Moshe and Ruth Wasserman Lande, received an overview of the organization’s day-to-day activities as well as its activities during large-scale emergencies. They also received an update about the organization’s activities carried out in the aftermath of the terror attack that took place a few hours earlier in the Jordan Valley.

President and founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer, together with CEO Eli Polack and Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel, gave a tour of the organization’s International Dispatch and Command Center to the minister and MKs and showed them the network of the organization’s 6,200 volunteers both in Israel as well as in the organization’s satellite chapters in other countries. They also met some of the volunteers and saw the fleet of vehicles and medical equipment that the organization utilizes to save lives on a daily basis.

 Bulletproof vests were donated to United Hatzalah in a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏) Bulletproof vests were donated to United Hatzalah in a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)

Protection for those who volunteer to save lives

The protective gear, which was paid for largely by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and some anonymous donors, will be distributed in the coming days to volunteer first responders to help them respond to security-related medical emergencies in the safest way possible.

“I am pleased to be here and thank all of you for your volunteering to save lives, it is as simple as that. You exemplify, both in the Dispatch and Command Center and out in the field, your willingness and readiness to save lives by connecting those who need help to those who can provide that help,” said Gantz. “This is so important and an incredibly large task that juxtaposes vision and efficiency to create and staff the network of volunteers that brings about this result in the least amount of time possible. There is nothing more beautiful than this.

“The unity and spirit of volunteerism that you have brought to all segments of Israeli society are so beautiful and so important. I want to thank each and every one of you, men and women, for doing this,” he continued. “There are many difficult challenges that we face, some are the work of natural forces, and others are not. About you, it is said: ‘Whoever saves one life in Israel, it is as if you saved an entire world.’ This is something that you do every single day. May you only continue to prosper and succeed. May it be that you have no work to do.”

Beer added, “It is an important day for United Hatzalah, as the protective equipment will help volunteers throughout the country stay safe while providing the fastest response to medical emergencies in times of war and terror attacks. The minister’s visit is a testimony to his support for our volunteers and our organization, which has revolutionized the field of pre-hospital emergency medical services in Israel and around the world.”