United Hatzalah of Israel, the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service in Israel, held their annual fundraising streaming event, “Saving Lives Sunday” in solidarity and support of its Israeli first response volunteers. The event raised more than $1.3 million (up more than 30% from 2020) in support of its volunteers who were honored in a tribute to their tireless work, especially in reflection of their involvement in the recent tragic event in Israel.
The virtual event featured Jay Leno as the MC, with special guests United Hatzalah chairman and author Mark Gerson, and actress Rona-Lee Shimon (Fauda). It was produced in partnership with Adam Kantor of Broadway fame. Each of the participants shared a heartfelt message saluting the first responders of United Hatzalah. The event also celebrated the first anniversary of founder and president Eli Beer’s return to Israel and paid tribute to the medical personnel of Miami University Hospital who saved his life when he contracted Covid-19 in March 2020.
The event, which was streamed live on YouTube and a special website, drew supporters from around the world.
The telethon demonstrated the pluralism that is part of the fabric of the organization and highlighted the women’s unit that is especially tasked with responding to medical emergencies involving women in the more religious segments of Israeli society, increasing both their comfort level and the level of care that the patients receive.
Guest appearances included dozens of supporters, young and old, as well as people whose lives were saved by volunteer first responders from United Hatzalah. In a truly special tribute, many of those who were saved had a chance to speak directly to their rescuers in conversations that were shared via zoom with those watching.
The event also featured a new rendition of the Marvin Gaye hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, which was sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi by the Broadway cast of The Band’s Visit.
“Especially following the terrible incident that took place in Meron on Friday morning, I cannot thank the volunteers of United Hatzalah enough for everything that they do, and the donors who support them and enable them to do it,” said Eli Beer, Founder, and President. “United Hatzalah is a partnership of many people who are all dedicated to saving the lives of people in Israel, people whom they have never met before. In light of the situation, we had to modify the program so that it would be appropriate for the current situation. I think we were able to do that in a meaningful way while still working to make sure that all of our volunteers have all of the lifesaving equipment they need to continue saving lives and helping people.”