Hatzalah marks 30 years of saving lives

Hatzalah thanks thousands of volunteers with 30th anniversary event featuring Jerusalem Mayor, performances by Avraham Fried and Ishay Ribo.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hatzalah EMTs
Hatzalah EMTs
United Hatzalah

Volunteer emergency medical services (EMS) organization, United Hatzalah, is inviting all 3,000 of its volunteers, together with their families, to honor their service on the 30th anniversary of Hatzalah activity in Israel, and the 10th anniversary of the creation of United Hatzalah as a national EMS organization.

United Hatzalah will be hosting Avraham Fried and Ishay Ribo, as well as other musical performers and special guests. Among the dignitaries slated to express their gratitude to the volunteer EMTs, paramedics, and doctors, across the nation will be Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau.

Eli Beer, founder and president of United Hatzalah, spoke about the reason behind the mega-event. “During the nine days (a period of mourning commemorating the destruction of two temples in Jerusalem and other national tragedies) we commemorate the tragedies that befell our nation due to the divisiveness that tore our country apart thousands of years ago.

"But on the day after Tisha B’Av this year, we will celebrate the selflessness, the giving, the loving-kindness, and the dedication of our volunteers to their fellow man. To drop everything one is doing at any given moment of the day, to leave one’s place of work or family and rush to save the life of another human being is something that takes an incredible amount of human kindness. This is expressed every day by each one of our volunteers, and it does not go unnoticed."

The Director of Israelife, Eli Pollak, echoed the sentiments made by Beer. “We hold our volunteer rescuers in the highest esteem. There is very little that can compare with their heroism."

He added, "This is the first time we are holding a national event of this magnitude.” Israelife is the umbrella organization which supports United Hatzalah, Zaka, and Israel’s Search and Rescue Units.

The event is geared towards the families of the volunteers to show the appreciation for those who stand behind the volunteers. “We are a family that lives on families. When a father or mother is volunteering on an emergency call, it means that they are not home to share the burden of running the home. Each family sacrifices right alongside with the volunteer who is out on the call saving lives. We feel it is important to give back to the families and support them as much as we can,” said Pollak.

“We have arranged for discounts for our volunteers and their families over the course of the day at attractions around the city so that families from outside of Jerusalem can come and spend the day and enjoy themselves,” Pollak explained. Discounted attractions include the Jerusalem Zoo, Ein Yael National Park, The Kotel (Western Wall) Tunnels, and at the Time Tunnel.

“In ten short years we have reshaped the way that Israel deals with emergencies, and we will continue to work hard to do so over the next ten years, and even over the next thirty. Our numbers are growing and we are excited to bring more volunteers into the organization and our family. Our volunteers are our lifeblood. Without them, our community based organization would not exist. It is as simple as that,” concluded Pollak.