At a meeting with Pope Francis Monday, Eli Beer, United Hatzalah president and founder, discussed the organization's mission of helping those in need of medical attention – assisting tens of thousands of ews, Muslims and Christians each year – using top-level technology and its unique “ambucycles,” essentially motorcycles equipped with equipment needed to provide emergency services in the field.
After the talk, Beer told the Pope that the organization had dedicated on of its ambucycles in his honor. According to Beer, the Pope was moved by his message, and was especially interested in the fact that United Hatzalah had just started a chapter in Argentina and has plans to expand internationally wherever possible. The ambucycle was donated by Isi Danon of South Africa and will be immediately be deployed on the streets of Jerusalem, said Beer; each cost $26,000. Beer also presented the Pope with a silver miniature ambucycle, commemorating the dedication.
The event took place at Heichal Shlomo, the seat of the Chief Rabbinate. Speaking at the event, Chief Rabbi David Lau commended the work of United Hatzalah specifically during the Second Intifada, when Jerusalem was hit by a wave of deadly suicide attacks, moments away from Heichal Shlomo where the event was held.
“The Pope seemed very interested to hear about how United Hatzalah saves the lives of men, women and children, Jews, Muslims and Christians on a daily basis,” said Beer. “He was visibly moved by the donation of an ambucycle in his honor. I explained that the more ambucycles we have, the quicker our response time will be, and that we are now trying to get our response time down to 90 seconds, and save even more precious lives.”
United Hatzalah is Israel’s first and largest fully-volunteer emergency rapid response service. With a fleet of over 300 ambucycles, United Hatzalah’s 2,300 volunteers respond to nearby emergencies from mobile-alerts and are able to arrive first on site to administer urgent care within three minutes from the initial call of distress – bridging the gap between emergency and ambulance arrival. United Hatzalah is a fully non-profit organization that relies solely on the generous gifts of supporters worldwide; all emergency medical treatment is administered by fully trained volunteers that do not charge for their life saving service.