Why doesn't Israel have emergency dispatchers?

There have been several laws unsuccessfully proposed to found a single, unified rescue body; many argue that it could have rescued the young couple who drowned in a stuck elevator on January 4.

MDA ambulance arrives at the scene where a man was hit by a car in Haifa (photo credit: MDA)
MDA ambulance arrives at the scene where a man was hit by a car in Haifa
(photo credit: MDA)
After two people drowned in a flooded elevator during a disastrous storm in Israel early in January, the idea of a single, unified rescue body has once again surfaced, since the kidnapping of three teenage boys in 2014, which led to Operation Protective Edge.
However, in the time that has passed since the kidnapping until now, no progress has been made for numerous reasons. While Israel's police and fire departments, among other organizations, have expressed support for the idea, Magen David Adom (MDA) has stood against it, Ynet reported.
There have been several laws proposed to found such a body, however none of them have been successful. Some cite lack of resources and budget as a reason that no action has been taken. Others believe that Israel, unlike other counties, does not need a united emergency service. However, many argue that such a body could have prevented the deaths of Dean Yaakov Shoshani and Stav Harari during the storm.
"The initial investigation done at the National Fire and Rescue Authority shows that it could have saved lives – instead of having an hour and fifteen minutes of embarrassing stories of not having enough manpower to answer all the calls coming in," said Dr. Gal Alon, who formed the Government Planning and Strategy department between 2006-2009. "The idea of such a body came about after the Second Lebanon War, but nothing has been made of it in the last decade – although nobody in the government seems to be losing sleep over it."
Prof. Avi Rivkind of Hadassah-University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem has also spoken out in favor of such a system and against those who say it is unnecessary. "Given the technological means we have today, the death of the Tel Aviv couple could have probably been prevented," he said. "Instead, they were moved from place to place and lost precious time. We have to unify all the call centers and create communication between them. Everyone needs to receive messages and know what is happening and give the proper response to each situation.
"The system needs to know how to recognize an emergency and send the appropriate task force," he continued. "Especially in a country that has to handle various threats, such a move should have happened a long time ago – at least a decade ago. I'm guessing it still hasn't happened because of people's egos: Everyone wants to be in charge. You can be in charge in rotation and you could also just decide who is in charge."
Others agree with this position, such as former police chief David Krauza, saying that unification will bring many advantages,  "If the unified center works properly, it will have a lot of value. It means all decision makers, at least at the level of the center."
He said it is nonsense that unifying all of these bodies together will bring chaos. According to him, "A cop shouldn't explain how to give an infusion, but once there's someone from the MDA in, he will provide the information needed for such a case. We don’t expect the MDA to do the cop's work or for firemen to give medical treatment.
"What is happening between the MDA and other organizations is a mess; they're fighting over these events and it's obvious to me why they're opposed to a union," Krauza said. "They don't even know how to manage a medical center and, if I'm not mistaken, it means that there are a lot of people who are hurt by the fact that there are multiple centers."
Omri Ron contributed to this report.