Eli Beer has been living a nightmare for weeks. The founder of the first-responder organization United Hatzalah was on the frontlines of rescue operations in the hours and days after the Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel by Hamas terrorists.
Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit in Las Vegas on Oct. 28, the man who witnessed horrors beyond imagination described the gathering as “a night of hope.”
“Looking at over 1,000 people in a room, with senators and congressmen and people who are running for the presidency, all saluting for Israel, all coming here to protect Israel, this whole Republican Jewish Coalition event was all about Israel this year,” Beer, clad in his signature orange vest, told JNS. “It gives us hope that Israel is gonna be OK because we have America behind us.”
Beer, who met with U.S. President Joe Biden earlier in the week, told the RJC audience about the evil his organization encountered. He revealed that Hatzalah volunteers found an Israeli baby’s body in an oven, cooked to death by Hamas terrorists.
“I saw the most cruel people in the world,” he said of the Hamas terrorists—some of whom Hatzalah volunteers captured alive. “I couldn’t even look at their faces. This is not regular evil. This was another level of cruelty. They’re not human.”
Beer was quick to also tell JNS about the “beautiful moments” he sees regularly, like Hatzalah volunteers who “ran into the fire” to save others during the terror attacks.
“They could have run away like everyone else because everyone’s running. They ran towards the fire, and they were doing God’s work,” he said, comparing the volunteers to New Yorkers running toward the fallen Twin Towers on 9/11 to aid firefighters in rescue efforts.
Beer described in the aftermath of Oct. 7 how Hatzalah volunteers found an elderly couple—Holocaust survivors with numbers tattooed on their arms—in a shelter. The two had survived by hiding for a week, with no food and very little sleep.
“The way we found them, it looked like they came out of Auschwitz again,” Beer said.
Hamas terrorists took two Hatzalah volunteers hostage, and Beer told JNS that the children of Hatzalah volunteers are also among the kidnapped, who are being held in the Gaza Strip.
‘We want to get ready for the next battle’
Beer told JNS that Hatalah, which he said has saved thousands of lives, emptied its warehouses on Oct. 7, including giving supplies to Israel Defense Forces soldiers, whose bases terrorists had hijacked.
“Now we want to restock everything and get ready for the next battle, which has now started,” he said. “We want to make sure we are protected in Israel and achieve a 90-second response time, even during war.”
Although United Hatzalah is always ready for war, “we were never even expecting anything close to this,” Beer said.
The Hatzalah head aims to increase the stock of trauma kits from 1,000 to 5,000, and broadly, to reimagine what form a massive first-response operation can take.