The Ministry of Health has decided to send out emergency calls to both Magen David Adom (MDA) and Hatzalah on Monday, bringing long-standing rivalries between the first responders to an end, according to Yisrael HaYom.
The approach until now between the two groups has been one of competition, with medic teams each vying to get to emergencies first.
However, beginning in February, the two groups will take a "divide and conquer" approach: responsibility for emergencies will fall on whichever group is closest to the scene of the emergency. The move could potentially speed first response time - and save lives.
In 2012, Hatzalah filed a complaint against MDA for defamation of character, after MDA medics claimed to Israeli media that Hatzalah tried to illegally evacuate patients from accident sites before being treated, and that Hatzalah allegedly attacked MDA members.
Conflict between the groups grew so severe that a special committee for the Ministry of Health, the Tadmor Committee, was established to examine the complex relationship between them. The unification of the two groups - both of which are the only two publicly backed medical teams in Israel - has been the committee's primary goal, according to the daily.
Hatzalah particularly welcomed the move.
"The protocols released today represent a significant step in establishing an objective, transparent, professional and uniform standard of operation expected of all emergency medical service providers," the organization stated Monday.
Founder Eli Beer noted, “Today’s recognition of United Hatzalah by the Ministry of Health and the Israeli Government represents an important milestone in our efforts to activate 3000 volunteers, 600 ambucycles with a 90-second response time in Israel."