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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘MDA’

Magen David Adom Races To Bulgaria

Friday, July 27th, 2012

“Wherever there are Israelis in trouble…we are there to help them,” said Yoni Yagodovsky, a spokesman for Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), told The Jewish Press.

Roughly eight hours after the terrorist attack in Bulgaria, a team of 12 MDA professionals arrived in Bulgaria to help their countrymen.

“Some of them burst into tears and clapped their hands in joy when they saw our medical team arriving,” Yagodovsky said about the dozens of Israelis who escaped the attack but were holed up in Bulgaria’s Burgas International Airport due to security concerns.

MDA officials proceeded to visit the injured in two Bulgarian hospitals, offering assistance wherever they could. “Unfortunately, we’ve gathered a lot of experience in dealing with terror attack victims,” Yagodovsky said. MDA also set up a call center for families in Israel who were worried about their loved ones.

Asked whether Bulgaria resented MDA’s involvement, Yagodovsky said, “Not at all. They were very helpful and friendly. All the people I spoke with said only good things about the Bulgarians.”

Two Women Run Over in Two Different Israeli Cities When Standing at Attention for Yom HaShoah

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Walla News reports that a 64-year-old woman was run over by a car Thursday morning, Yom HaShoah, on King Shaul Street in Be’er Sheva, as she was standing at attention during the memorial siren. She was trapped, unconscious, under the car that hit her and was rescued by MDA teams.

The woman was rushed to Soroka Medical Center in critical condition, suffering from multi-system damage.

Another woman was injured during the siren, on highway 44 between Holon and Azur. As she was getting out of her car to stand at attention, a car hit her from behind. Her condition is medium to light.

Truth, Lies, and Saving Lives

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

In recent months, I’ve been contacted repeatedly regarding news reports that Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical response and national blood service, is removing its logo from ambulances in Judea and Samaria, or ending all operations there entirely. It’s been a frustrating time because the reports haven’t been accurate, and the misrepresentations have created a backlash that’s bad for Israel – and for all Israelis. As an Israeli living in the Judean mountain region of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, I want to set the record straight.

First, two points of clarification. People ask me about Magen David Adom’s services in Judea and Samaria because I serve as the representative in Israel for American Friends of Magen David Adom (www.afmda.org), MDA’s American fundraising affiliate.

While reports about MDA removing its logo or ceasing activities in Judea and Samaria are the catalyst for recent rumors, all this originates from reports that MDA signed an agreement in 2005 that enabled it to be accepted as a member of the International Red Cross, righting a six-decade wrong of MDA and Israel being excluded from that international body. The decision to sign the agreement largely originated from Israel’s government at the time. MDA does not make political or diplomatic decisions on behalf of the State of Israel.

Except for the borders with Egypt and Jordan, Israel has no internationally recognized borders, and MDA’s role, by law, is to provide equal services to all Israelis, regardless of on which side of the Green Line they live.

The truth is, MDA has not changed its operations in Judea and Samaria at all. It’s never ceased working in these areas or providing equal and full lifesaving services to Israelis (and Palestinians) who live here. Anyone suggesting otherwise simply does not have their facts straight or is deliberately misrepresenting them. As a result of the latter, there is an increase of the former.

The facts are unambiguous. MDA operates more than 60 ambulances based in 14 stations throughout Judea and Samaria, serving an Israeli population there of more than 250,000. On a per capita basis, the number of ambulances in Judea and Samaria is much higher than in Israeli cities with comparable populations.

The fact is that MDA responds to dozens of calls daily in Judea and Samaria, serving Arabs and Jews without discrimination.

Another fact is that MDA does not play politics when it comes to saving lives. People on the right of the political spectrum who are worried that MDA has left Judea and Samaria need to know that hasn’t happened and that MDA serves all Israelis equally. People on the left of the spectrum, who don’t believe Israel should be in Judea and Samaria, need to know that MDA serves all its residents equally, regardless of their citizenship – as it does within the Green Line between Israeli Arabs and Jews.

Misrepresenting these facts, calling for a boycott of donations to MDA, and damaging support for this critical organization do nothing other than harm Israelis. Every donor lost makes it harder for AFMDA to provide resources to save lives in Israel. There seems to be myriad ill-defined political agendas driving these news reports. Few of them have been factual. And their motives are malicious.

To some degree, these inaccurate stories have been fed by MDA’s decision to remove its logo from community ambulances throughout Israel at the same time that details of the agreement with the Red Cross have come to light. Previously, community ambulances bore the MDA emblem, even though they weren’t operated by MDA. Now, emblems on those community ambulances are being replaced with another insignia, which like the MDA logo also features the iconic Star of David. So the accusation that MDA is removing the Star of David from its ambulances – whether they’re operating in Judea and Samaria or anywhere else in the country – is false.

Sadly, the misinformation continues, and some people have deliberately misrepresented the facts, doing great damage to MDA, its reputation, and our ability to continue to help Israelis with medical emergencies – a particularly dangerous scenario given the resumption of rocket attacks from Gaza and daily threats from Iran.

Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, sandwiched by enemies to its north and south. The mission of saving lives has to be immune from politics and political games. If people have legitimate issues with MDA or the government’s international diplomacy, they should voice them in the proper forum and not misrepresent the facts. Let people of goodwill who care about Israel continue to support MDA – not because it’s my job to say this, but because MDA, more than any other Israeli organization, truly saves lives and benefits all Israelis.

Jonathan Feldstein is an Israel-based representative of American Friends of Magen David Adom, the American fundraising affiliate for Israel’s emergency medical response organization. He lives in Efrat in Judea.

MDA, These Are Your Friends – Red Crescent Employees Arrested for Attack on IDF Soldiers

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

This should serve as a cautionary note to Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) service, which so eagerly cooperates with the Palestinian Red Crescent, to the point of transferring to the latter the medical authority in the district of Samaria. The folks you’re in bed with might just shoot you.

JTA reports that the goalie of the Palestinian Olympic soccer team and Palestinian Red Crescent employees were among 13 West Bank residents arrested for an attack on Israeli soldiers.

The arrests in the Jan. 20 shooting attack against Israeli troops were announced Monday by the Israel Defense Forces. No injuries were incurred during the attack but a vehicle was damaged, according to the IDF.

Omar Abu Rois, 23, the goalie, is affiliated with the Hamas terror organization and works for the Red Crescent, according to the IDF. He carried out the attack  with Red Crescent guard Salih Bar’al using AK-47 rifles procured by Munzar Abbas, 41,  an officer of the Palestinian “General Intelligence” in Ramallah who is responsible for security at the Red Crescent.

The IDF said the group, who all live in the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, intended to carry out similar attacks in at least six other locations.

Residents of Samaria to US, Canadian, Donors: MDA Enemy of the Settlements

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

For more than half a year, the Samaria Residents Committee has been struggling against Magen David Adom following its agreement with the Red Cross, in which MDA has committed to remove the red Star of David symbols from ambulances serving Samarian towns, and to transfer medical authority in the district to the Palestinian Red Crescent. According to articles in Haaretz and Israel Army Radio, MDA also committed to blocking contributions coming from abroad to acquire ambulances in Judea and Samaria.

The Samaria Residents Committee published an ad in the North American weekend edition of the Jerusalem Post under the headline “Follow the money.” The ad informs potential MDA donors overseas of the damage the MDA agreement is causing settlement in Samaria, and notes that this is an unprecedented act of an Israeli national organization stating openly that it would block services to a large part of Israel’s population.

Benny Katzover, Chairman of the Samaria Residents Committee, told the website Datili that the ad’s purpose was to inform North American Jews of MDA’s behavior. The bulk of MDA donors in North America may not be aware that their money was stopped at the “green line” and that the organization they supported took part in curbing medical treatment of Israeli Jews.

Saving Lives in Judea and Samaria – The Untold Story

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

A common phenomenon in Judea and Samaria is that many Palestinians turn to the IDF and to Israeli medical emergency services to receive medical attention. Local Arabs, whether ill or wounded, receive immediate life-saving medical treatment regardless of existing security tensions, and with no prerequisites.

A recent case is that of a two year old infant who was treated by Magen David Adom (MDA) medics and the Kfir battalion medical staff after being critically wounded by his father, who accidentally hit him with his car. The family brought the child to the main gate at Neve Tsuf, where he received first-responder treatment.

Two weeks later, IDF medical officials and local volunteers treated two Palestinians that were brought to Neve Tsuf after falling from a high elevation and suffering moderate injuries to their limbs and spinal columns. They were later evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

Neve Tsuf is one of several Jewish settlements that provide medical care to local Arabs. Israeli medical services primarily tend to Palestinians wounded in car accidents throughout Judea and Samaria, usually between Palestinian vehicles.

An agreement was signed between Palestinian Red Crescent and the MDA, ensuring the use of MDA’s advanced equipment by Red Crescent. By virtue of this agreement, Red Crescent ambulances pass through military checkpoints without inspection, and occasionally abuse this privilege to transport weapons.

Medical treatment by Israeli medical officials is provided even during periods of increased security tensions, such as Arab riots, stone throwing, and various assaults on Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, including a stone-throwing attack on an ambulance from Neve Tsuf over a month ago.

And yet, the humanitarian aid provided to Arabs in Judea and Samaria has not been picked up on or published by the media.

MK Aryeh Eldad of The National Union party, a former commanding officer of the military medical corps in the IDF, stated: “In any case when emergency medical care is required, it is to be provided regardless of gender, race, nationality or religion, whether he’s a friend or foe. Thus, the IDF and MDA must offer medical care if it is needed immediately, eligibility for medical insurance not withstanding. Every doctor and medic in the army takes an oath to conduct themselves in this fashion. The world at large knows little about these occurrences; “the world” is more interested in incidents of harm brought to Arabs rather then cases of treating them. There is no doubt the world should know more about these activities”.

Jerusalem district MDA spokesman, Danny Rotenberg, added that the MDA, as a national rescue organization, provides emergency care services throughout the entire State of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. He said that the population of Judea and Samaria includes an Arab segment, and when the MDA receives an emergency call, it is understood that they are morally obligated to provide medical care via the medical teams dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria.

When asked about the funding of medical treatment for Palestinians, Rotenberg points out that it’s a sensitive issue. The MDA never stipulates the provision of medical care with the ability to pay for it. First, medical care is provided, and then the issue of reimbursement is examined on an individual basis. “We hope that through cooperation in emergency cases of this kind, we are acquiring ambassadors of good will on the basis of the love of human kindness regardless of religion, age or nationality”. Avigdor Shatz, Director of the security department in the Benyamin regional municipality, said in a statement: “This phenomenon exists in other settlements in Judea and Samaria, although not as frequently as in Neve Tsuf, which is situated on a main route, and therefore is more accessible to the Palestinian population”. He added that as a professional he offers support to anyone who requires it. “I think this is a part of a basic set of ethics which anyone who provides medical care should have. And this is how we conduct ourselves. The number of Palestinian casualties in car accidents we treat is immense, and does not consist only of those who seek care at the front gate”.

When posed with the question of whether the Palestinian population and their representatives conveyed any expressions of gratitude, he replied that there is a big gap between what actually happens and between what the politicians report on our side, as well as what is publicized outwardly. “This aspect is of less interest to me, I don’t think the Palestinian Authority has expressed any gratitude except in two cases which occurred in the Palestinian Authority’s territory. In one case, a large purification facility collapsed while the concrete was being laid, and we came and rescued tens of casualties and treated them. In another case, a building in El-Bira collapsed; an entire floor fell in, we arrived with other medical teams such as the IDF’s search and rescue unit, and provided medical care and evacuated the wounded. In the first case the engineer’s company which designed the facility published a newspaper ad thanking us, and in the second case the governor of Ramallah thanked us personally”.

The Truth About Magen David Adom

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Back in September 2011, in an editorial titled “Magen David Adom: No Time to Blink,” we expressed our dismay over reports in several Israeli newspapers that Israel’s national ambulance service – its version of the American Red Cross – was in the process of removing the display of the Magen David symbol on its ambulances operating over the Green Line as a sop to the International Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent, which are averse to the display of the Jewish symbol there.

As we noted, in 2005 MDA applied for membership in the IRC. At the time, the IRC had approved the display on members’ ambulances of the Christian cross, the Muslim (and Palestinian) crescent, and the Red Lion symbol of several Asian nations. As a condition of membership, the MDA had to agree that when it operated over the Green Line – generally comprising territory seized by Israel in 1967 which both Israel and the Palestinians now claim – it eventually would not display the Jewish star. At the time that editorial appeared, it seemed the grace period had passed and the IRC was insisting MDA stop using the Jewish star over the Green Line.

The editorial evoked a vituperative e-mail response from one Robert L. Kern, director of marketing and communications of American Friends of Magen David Adom. Mr. Kern claimed our “suggestion that ‘under pressure from within the IRC, the MDA is now phasing out any display of the Jewish star…’ is a complete and total lie.”

Mr. Kern acknowledged that “In some cases, the star has appeared inside the ‘red diamond’ because that is a universally recognized International Red Cross emblem,” but added that “any suggestion that the ‘Jewish star’ is no longer being used by MDA outside of Israel is wrong.”

And Mr. Kern went on to say, “For the record, [the Jerusalem Post] and Haaretz have acknowledged their mistakes, as corrected by MDA in Israel.”

We were unable to locate any retractions, or even clarifications, from the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz. In any event, last month Haaretz reported that MDA would indeed no longer be operating over the Green Line. Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson wrote that this was pursuant to its agreement with the IRC in 2005 that MDA would remove the Star of David from its ambulances in the West Bank, replacing it with a red diamond shape.

According to Haaretz, MDA will rely on local units to provide emergency ambulance service over the Green Line with ambulances that will not display the traditional Star of David.

And last Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reported:

A senior official in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed…that Magen David Adom removed the “Magen David” symbol from the ambulances it operates in the West Bank to comply with an agreement with the Palestinian Red Crescent, Army Radio reported.

The official, Per Stanbeck, told Army Radio that when Magen David Adom joined the ICRC, it was required to cease operating in the West Bank. Because it cannot operate in the territories, “[they] are outsourcing the ambulances” to local authorities, he said.

Chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council of Settlements Dani Dayan responded with harsh criticism over the news, saying that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is fighting over the details with the Palestinians in Amman, “[Magen David Adom] already recognized a Palestinian state on 1967 borders,” speaking with Army Radio.

This is not about The Jewish Press claiming vindication. We did not then, nor will we ever, be intimidated by those who are upset about our telling it as it is. The significance of this episode is that no organization should feel it can do or say whatever is expedient without fear of exposure.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-truth-about-magen-david-adom/2012/01/11/

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