Young Jews from around the world volunteer for 'MDA Overseas'

Hundreds of young adults volunteer in Israel to save lives as part of the MDA Overseas project, which recently marked its 28th year.

Tags: Volunteers MDA
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

"MDA Overseas" volunteers from around the world
"MDA Overseas" volunteers from around the world
Credit: Eden Boxenbaum, MDA spokesperson

As part of the project MDA Overseas, 500 Jewish young adults aged 18-28 from around the world come to Israel every year to volunteer for Magen David Adom.

The volunteers come to Israel for two months, first taking a first aid course. They then serve as volunteers in MDA ambulances for about five weeks. Some of them return to Israel later and take a MDA paramedics course.

The program began in 1991 during the Gulf War, when the Jewish Agency's emissary in Montreal, Avner Bar-Hama, approached Magen David Adom and suggested spearheading an initiative to send young people from McGill University to assist Israel during the war.

The volunteers received first aid training in Canada and then flew to Israel to volunteer for MDA. That delegation became the pioneers of the project, which later became known as MDA Overseas. In 2002, it was decided to dedicate the program to the memory of Yochai Porat, who was the program coordinator in Israel and was killed in an IDF operation in Wadi Hermia, in Binyamin.

About 180 of the summer program participants attended the recent ceremony marking the 28th anniversary of the project. The participants were from 17 countries around the world, including the United States, Holland, Thailand, Hong Kong, Morocco, and Namibia.

"At the age of seven, I moved to Thailand, and since then I haven't lived in Israel," said Dan Bornstein (22). "For the past few years, I've been thinking about how I can strengthen my connection to the State of Israel, and I decided that my contribution to the country would be the best way. When I heard about MDA Overseas, it was clear to me that I found the right place to volunteer and contribute."

"I'm happy about the decision I made to devote my time to volunteering in Israel, and I thank MDA for the opportunity," Dan continued. "Thanks to the important knowledge I acquired in MDA, I'll be able to help save lives wherever I'll be in my life, in Israel and around the world."