Peres holds blood drive at President's Residence

Staff of President's Residence give blood when MDA's stocks run low; main reception room turned into clinic.

Peres, hospital (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Peres, hospital
(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 so.
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.
President 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 folding beds.
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.
One of 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 time.
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.
He was 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.