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MDA signs deal with US group to provide medevac hospital services in Israel

Hatzolah Air will partner with Magen David Adom to provide medical evacuation flights out of Tiberius and Be’er Sheva.

A Hatzolah Air Medivac Helicopter drills with a Magen David Adom ambulance in Israel. Courtesy of MDA.
A Hatzolah Air Medivac Helicopter drills with a Magen David Adom ambulance in Israel. Courtesy of MDA.

The Magen David Adom (MDA) medical emergency response group has signed a partnership agreement with U.S.-based Hatzolah Air to jointly provide medevac hospital services in Israel.

Hatzolah Air, headquartered in New York, operates a fleet of medivac aircraft and receives dozens of requests each month for aviation rescues in the U.S., Israel and other countries.

“This partnership will ensure that seriously injured and critically ill Israelis who find themselves far from medical facilities will get the lifesaving care they need,” said Eli Bin, director-general of Magen David Adom. “And it is another connection between MDA and the American Hatzolah movement, strengthening the cooperative relationship we’ve long had.”

Eli Rowe, president of Hatzolah Air, said the relationship between the two organizations goes back decades.

“When Israel has been under rocket attack or reeling from terrorist bombings, Hatzolah Divisions from across America sent teams of doctors, paramedics and EMTs to provide Israel with additional resources in their hour of need,” said Rowe.

MDA similarly provides American and International Hatzolah members with high-level training conducted in the U.S. and Israel and, more recently, has made its cutting-edge dispatch technology available to its American counterparts.

MDA provides medevac flights out of Tiberius in Israel’s North and near Be’er Sheva in the South, providing nationwide coverage for people critically ill and injured and far from hospitals or the specialized medical care their conditions require. Ever since MDA established medevac services in Israel more than 15 years ago, it contracted with Lahak Aviation to provide the helicopters and pilots, while medical crews consist of MDA paramedics. The contract with Lahak expires in March.

This new initiative will take effect before the contract with Lahak expires, providing a brief overlap to ensure continuous and uninterrupted medevac services. Under the agreement, pilots will be provided by Israel-based Brook Aviation and all medical crews will consist of MDA paramedics, as has been the case since the program’s formation.

“Previously, we have successfully partnered with Hatzolah Air on medical evacuations,” said Bin. “This has included single patients and, in the case of our recent work transporting Ukrainians to Israel, many injured refugees, patients, and Holocaust survivors. We look forward to Hatzolah Air upgrading and expanding MDA’s airborne medical evacuation capabilities.”

As an organization exclusively dedicated to providing emergency medical flights, using both helicopters and jets, Hatzolah Air’s partnership with MDA provides the organizations with the potential for expanded medical flight services, including transporting patients to or from Israel for specialized surgeries and providing international relief flights in times of natural disasters.

“Strengthening the partnership between Hatzolah Air—and all the Hatzolah chapters—[with MDA] is ultimately all about achieving one goal,” Rowe said. “It’s about saving more lives.”

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