Ichud Hatzalah volunteers
Ichud Hatzalah volunteers iVolunteers website

Religious medical volunteer group Ichud Hatzalah (iVolunteers) rejected the accusations that its use of Arab volunteers in eastern Jerusalem harms Jewish sovereignty there. It also denied that it has removed the Star of David from its emblem.

The accusations were made in a letter by Jerusalem activist Aryeh King, who asked donors not to give money to Ichud Hatzalah until these questions and others were resolved.

Eli Bir, the chairman of Ichud Hatzalah (which broke away from Hatzolah Israel and is embroiled in a legal dispute with it) said that the reason it has begun taking Arab volunteers is that whenever an emergency medical situation arises in eastern Jerusalem, the Israeli Red Magen David refers the matter to the Palestinian Authority's Red Crescent. In order to solve this problem, Bir said, a Christian American donor agreed to fund a volunteer array of Arabs from eastern Jerusalem. “We wish only to strengthen Jerusalem's Jewish status and to keep the Red Crescent out,” he said.

The Arab volunteers face constant threats from other Arabs who demand that they leave the volunteer group, but most of them have resisted the pressure thus far, he said.

Bir also rejected accusations that the organization has stopped using the Star of David on its emblem. He explained that the Arab volunteers' vests, and only those vests, have a second symbol beside the Ichud Hatzalah symbol, which contains the Star of David.