The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has given unanimous approval to the bill unifying emergency phone numbers and dispatch centers of Magen David Adom (MDA) and United Hatzalah (UH) which have been battling with each other for decades on the issue.
The bill, which aims to create a single, unified phone number for medical emergencies was put forward in the previous Knesset by then-Health Committee chairman MK Idit Silman, MK Moshe Gafni, and MK Yinon Azoulay and approved at the time in its first reading. However, after the dispersal of the previous Knesset, it could not be advanced further. On Sunday, it was approved unanimously by the ministerial committee – the first step before it can be brought forward once again for a first-reading vote in the Knesset.
“We welcome this decision. We have advocated for this bill for a long time to improve the country’s emergency medical response system and call on everyone involved to make this bill a priority to ensure that circumstances do not once again prevent its full approval and implementation. It will save many lives in Israel.”Eli Beer
What do United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom think?
UH president and founder Eli Beer, who has been calling for such a move for many years, said: “We welcome this decision. We have advocated for this bill for a long time to improve the country’s emergency medical response system and call on everyone involved to make this bill a priority to ensure that circumstances do not once again prevent its full approval and implementation. It will save many lives in Israel.”
UH director-general Eli Pollack said: “As an organization that is dedicated to saving lives, the efficient and timely flow of information is critical to us to ensure that it reaches the medical personnel throughout the country in real-time. We welcome the approval of the bill yesterday in the ministerial committee. I would like to thank chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni for bringing it forward, the Minister of Environmental Protection Idit Silman and the chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, for pushing for the unanimous approval of this important bill.”
Asked by The Jerusalem Post to comment, MDA spokesman Zaki Heller said that it "welcomes the Ministerial Committee’s decision and relies on the professional Health Ministry officials’ efforts in settling the issue. There is utmost importance on the existence of one medical emergency number – our 101 – that will report to other rescue organizations. It is good that the Health Ministry has put a brake on private initiatives and misleading statements. MDA operates in accordance with the ministry’s guidelines and activates all of the emergency personnel of MDA and the other organizations in an egalitarian way and according to guidelines.”