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Netanyahus visit United Hatzalah headquarters

The NGO's volunteer first responders saved many lives on Oct. 7.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visit the headquarters of the United Hatzalah emergency rescue organization in Jerusalem, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visit the headquarters of the United Hatzalah emergency rescue organization in Jerusalem, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visited the headquarters of the United Hatzalah emergency rescue organization in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

The Netanyahus toured United Hatzalah’s operations center and met with the group’s founder and president Eli Beer and CEO Eli Pollak. During the visit, they watched video clips of the organization’s activities during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and met with volunteers who helped rescue victims that day.

“My wife and I have come to be here with Eli Beer and the thousands of United Hatzalah volunteers, Jews and Arabs, around 700 Muslim Arabs and others who have volunteered to help and to save lives, together with secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews, 50% ultra-Orthodox, people who are deployed throughout the country and give of themselves,” said the prime minister.

“They gave on October 7, under fire, and occasionally were fired upon, and treated themselves [if wounded] even as they saved lives—and they are doing this all the time. I think that you deserve to be recognized for saving lives. You have saved many people and you are doing amazing work,” he added.

Shortly after the massacre, Beer met with U.S. President Joe Biden during the latter’s solidarity trip to the Jewish state.

“I have never in my life seen a president crying,” Beer told JNS of the meeting. “It was like he was paying a shivah call,” he said, referring to the weeklong Jewish period of mourning.

“I was [initially] told I would have three minutes with the president, so I didn’t really expect much,” he said. “I was totally shocked by how pained he was by the stories. He wanted to give comfort.”

With its network of 7,000 Israeli volunteers of all faiths, United Hatzalah medics were among the first responders to the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught in southern Israel which killed some 1,200 people and wounded over 4,500 others. It was the worst attack on Israel in the last half-century and the deadliest one-day attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

The first responders encountered something they had never seen before, treating thousands of victims, including hundreds with serious injuries, according to Beer.

Hamas terrorists murdered two of the organization’s volunteers—Awad Mosa Darawshy, a 27-year-old Arab-Israeli paramedic from Nazareth, and 55-year-old Maor Shalom from Kiryat Malachi, said Beer.

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