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An Israeli Paramedic on the Roads of Samaria
By Dovid Ben-Meir
03/08/2016
 A journalist friend of mine urged me to write some posts describing everyday life here for Jews in Judea and Samaria.
"People have no idea of what day-to-day life is like. They don't know who you are or how you live," she insisted.

I know there are many stereotypical stigmas that are detached from reality, so she has a point. So once a week I'll continue writing about the principles of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, but once a week I'll endeavor to tell you how life goes on down on the farm – er – in our community.

In our community there's a world-class traveler named Uri. Amongst other destinations he's been to, he's also been to Haiti and Nepal, because he's a paramedic in MDA (Magen David Adom = Red Star of David, the Jewish 'Red Cross') and part of a volunteer crew for special rescue work anywhere in the globe. As per my journalist friend's suggestion I asked him about his day-to-day life, during which he often treats people injured in car accidents:

Me: Do you treat Jews or Arabs?

Uri: Yes! Everyone.

Me: How does that work?

Uri: When you call 101 for an emergency ambulance, if your cell-phone is on an Israeli network you automatically get MDA and if it's an Arab network you get the Red Crescent (= Muslim 'Red Cross').

Me: So Arabs can't call you?

Uri: They can. Sometimes a passing Israeli driver sees an accident on the road and calls it in, so we're sent as first responders. Sometimes an Arab has an Israeli phone or calls direct to MDA. Sometimes the Red Crescent calls us in.

Me: When are you more likely to be called in?

Uri: If the injured are lightly hurt then the RC will take the injured person to an Arab clinic or hospital. If the injuries are more serious the RC or the local residents will ask us to take the injured to an Israeli hospital.

Me: Why?

Uri: The quality of medicine is higher in Israel. Generally we have good working relations with the RC. Sometimes we'll coordinate to transfer lightly injured persons to them and sometimes they'll transfer seriously hurt persons to us. What's funny is that usually they talk to me in Hebrew, but sometimes a medic will make a political point of addressing me in only English. I'll answer in Hebrew, which they understand just fine. Sometimes the RC medic will ask me to take a look at the injured person before they take them, just to be sure, and sometimes the family will ask me to take their relative to an Israeli hospital.

Me: They trust and rely on you?

Uri: Absolutely! Especially in the neighboring villages, our town's ambulance crews are well-known by sight. They even know who's just a regular medic and who's a better trained paramedic. They trust us. The sad thing is that the Red Cross doesn't want us to be here at all.

[Let me add: the Red Cross (which calls itself the International Red Cross, even though only Swiss nationals can be on its board) is a somewhat anti-Jewish organization. They refuse to allow Israel to use the symbol of the Red Magen David – claiming it's a religious symbol, which it is, but so are the Red Cross and the Red Crescent! The IRC doesn't want Jews living in Judea and Samaria and doesn't want Jewish ambulances here either – but the local Arabs do.]

Uri: If you'd ask our neighbors – they'd tell you they prefer us.

Me: Who pays for the ambulance when you take an injured person to an Israeli hospital?

Uri: No one, so basically it's a free service (for Israelis it costs about $200). So is the hospital care – the patients don't pay, so it's basically paid for by Israel. But you know – there's another agency that treats even more Arabs than we do.

Me: Who's that?

Uri: The army medical corps!

So Uri and his friends may be in the middle of prayers or sound asleep on a weekday, or in the middle of the Sabbath eve – when religious Jews don't drive – but when the beeper goes off, then off they go to treat whoever needs them, Jew or Arab. Under the skin that is under the bandages, we are all human beings with a Divine soul.
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