Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
Magen David Adom ambulance evacuates wounded to hospital. (file)

At the request of Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency medical service has backpedaled on a plan to reduce its services in Judea and Samaria.

Read: Jordan Valley Council to Red Crescent: Please Help, Litzman Abandoned Us

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Read: Litzman Asks Communications Minister Kara to Revoke United Hatzalah’s Hotline Number

According to MDA spokesperson Zaki Heller, Litzman “appealed to MDA director-general Eli Bin to postpone the reduction of MDA’s activity in Judea and Samaria, with a commitment to hold a discussion and arrange the budget for its operation.”

The MDA spokesperson added that Bin had agreed to “honor” Litzman’s request “in appreciation of the deputy minister’s ongoing activity on behalf of the residents of Israel and in order to allow such discussion to take place. The reduction of MDA services in Judea and Samaria “will be frozen until March 24, 2019,” Heller said.

Magen David Adom had previously announced that on March 1, it would shut down its regional station serving residents south of Beit She’an all the way to the Dead Sea – a distance of more than 100 kilometers – due to government budget cuts.

“As soon as the state transfers the required budget, the activity will return,” the MDA spokesperson told JewishPress.com.

Among other things, emergency medical response to future motor vehicle accidents on Route 90 – known as Israel’s most dangerous highway – would be affected.

Oddly, at the end of December 2018, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman sent a request to Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, urging him to order the United Hatzalah volunteer emergency medical organization to cease using their hotline number, 1221.

Litzman maintained in his letter that only one central emergency medical hotline should exist in the state – 101 – to be managed by MDA. United Hatzalah would receive its calls from that switchboard, he said.

A similar plan was recommended in the interests of efficiency in 2014, 2016 and again in 2017, according to a volunteer from the United Hatzalah organization, who said the directive was reportedly never carried out, and the 101 hotline failed to pass on emergency calls – or passed on incomplete information.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.