What is the Story with Red Magen David in Shomron?

The Shomron residents just can’t make the best use of that golden hour that is the window during which a seriously wounded person must get medical care, due to their great distance from any hospital.<br/>

Contact Editor
David Ha'ivri,

People have been asking me about the mixed messages and contradictory reports that they have been hearing from Israel on emergency services in Judea and Samaria (Shomron).

“What is the story?” they ask. “Is MDA operating in Judea and Samaria or not?” This is very troublesome to lovers of Israel. On one hand, everyone wishes to think only good things about Israel's leading emergency rescue service provider, but on the other hand, many are justifiably concerned for the safety and well-being of the Jewish residents of Israel's heartland. 

It is understpod that a large number of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are at higher risk because of geographical distance from medical facilities, as well as the heightened threat of terror in these areas. Both of these concerns are well founded. The Shomron Regional Council is Israel's largest, in terms of size, spanning about 12% of all the area of the State of Israel, including both Judea and Samaria.

This office serves 33 Jewish communities spread out from Shaked in the north, near Hedera, to Peduel in the south, overlooking Israel's Ben Gurion International airport at Lod. Communities in the Shomron region are located in some of the most isolated areas in Israel.

Many residents live more than an hour's drive from emergency rooms at their nearest hospitals.

Many residents live more than an hour's drive from emergency rooms at their nearest hospitals.
The Shomron area is so spread out that different areas are nearer to different medical centers. So residents of northern Shomron communities like Tal Menashe, Shaked and Hermesh are closer to the Hillel Yafe Hospital in Hedera - for some, that still involves a forty minute drive.

Others in Shavi Shomron and Enav might be closer to the hospital in Netanya - also some 40 minutes away. Havat Gilad and Kedumim are about 35 minutes from the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba. Elon Moreh, Itamar, Har Bracha and Yitzhar are over an hour from Petach Tikva or Jerusalem. 

These communities have suffered terrorist attacks like the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar last year, as well as others that I would rather not remember. These attacks are in addition to the common, everyday emergencies faced by any community around the world - situations from car accidents to women in labor.

A community like Har Bracha has, thank G-d, 70 births each year. Many of those women will need to travel over an hour in an ambulance to reach the maternity ward in one of the above mentioned hospitals. Needless to say, more than a few children have been born on the way.

Consider events like traffic accidents on the isolated road between Itamar and Elon Moreh, for instance. We pray that they should not occur. But if they do, think about the time element needed to discover that someone has been hurt and needs medical assistance.

In the best case scenario, the victim will be discovered within 15 minutes and an ambulance will be called immediately and reach the location at the record speed of another 15 minutes. If the wounded person is taken, on the spot, to the nearest hospital, it adds an additional one hour drive.

All together, with no delays at all, this scenario took one and a half hours to get the wounded individual to an emergency room. Those familiar with emergency medical lingo know the term “the golden hour," which refers to the one hour window in which a seriously wounded person must be brought into an emergency medical facility to have a good chance of saving his or her life.

The Shomron residents just can’t make the best use of that golden hour, due to their great distance from any hospital.

To facilitate this life-saving need, the Shomron Regional Council is operating its own ambulance service with the help of our team of 150 trained volunteers. In each one of our 33 communities, they have developed a very dedicated team of first aid providers, paramedics and licensed ambulance drivers along with a small full time staff overseen by one of the civilian security officers.

This operation includes a regional civilian crisis command center which receives calls on all types of emergencies 24/7, and directs them with no delay to the appropriate services - police, fire department, ambulance service, IDF or municipality.

This operation is tailored to the special needs and situations in the Shomron region, and is unique in Israel.