A long-standing rivalry between Israeli rescue services Magen David Adom and Ichud (United) Hatzalah came to the fore, as the Hatzalah group instructed its attorneys to file a lawsuit against MDA for defamation of character. The lawsuit comes after MDA officials were quoted in the media as saying that Ichud Hatzalah personnel had illegally sought to evacuate patients after treating them at the site of accidents, and that Ichud Hatzalah personnel had attacked MDA teams.
The MDA earlier Monday asked the Histadrut to authorize a work action over what MDA officials called “ongoing bullying” by Ichud Hatzalah workers. According to the MDA, an Ichud Hatzalah team attacked an MDA team several days ago in Jerusalem, and attempted to prevent the evacuation of an injured person. MDA claims that dozens of such incidents had occurred in recent months.
In a statement, Ichud Hatzalah said that “the attempts of MDA's public relation people to lie to the media and attempt to portray Ichud Hatzalah as being interested in evacuating patients is a lie, as the organization does not do this at all. Ichud Hatzalah workers attempt to ensure proper care for patents during the critical minutes between the start of an emergency and until MDA or other rescue organization ambulances arrive to evacuate the injured person.”
The statement added that “it would be best if MDA officials dedicated their energy to saving lives and learning the hard lessons they need to learn from recent government reports regarding the management of MDA, and to immediately cease and desist from harassing Ichud Hatzalah volunteers in an attempt to intimidate them from helping to save lives, which apparently MDA sees as an attempt to violate its monopoly on helping the citizens of Israel,” the group said.