Signing the pledge
Signing the pledge Israel news photo: Ezer Mizion

The National Service is to begin cooperating with the national Bone Marrow Donor Registry in a deal that both sides hope will lead to more than 13,000 new people joining the registry each year. Representatives from the registry and from organizations that coordinate national service sat down Sunday to sign a pledge.

Over the next few days, Ezer Mizion representatives will approach groups of new National Service volunteers and ask if they would be willing to give a blood sample and join the registry.

"This is a historic day for the National Bone Marrow registry,” Dr. Zisser said. “The meaningful and most welcome participation of the National Service will allow more than 13,000 volunteers to join the registry and save lives.”

National Service volunteers will make particularly valuable additions, she noted. “Due to their youth and their varied backgrounds, military and national service inductees will remain on the registry for many years, and save many ill people who need a bone marrow transplant,” she said.

The Ezer Mizion registry is the third largest worldwide, and the largest Jewish registry in existence. It has more than 535,000 potential donors currently listed, and has led to over 650 transplants.

The ethnic makeup of the registry is important, as those in need of a bone marrow transplant are most likely to find a potential donor among those with a similar genetic background.

National Service volunteers are those who are exempt from military service, but choose to serve the country by volunteering in a civilian setting for one or two years. Seven recognized organizations work to match volunteers with open positions and to provide supervision and assistance.

The document was signed by Hananya Chowak, founder and CEO of the Ezer Mizion health support organization, Dr. Bracha Zisser, who runs the Ezer Mizion national bone marrow registry, National Service director Sar-Shalom Jerby, and the heads of various organizations that coordinate national service volunteers.