United Hatzalah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United Hatzalah of Israel
Typefree, volunteer-based emergency medical services
Legal statusNon-governmental organization, Non-profit organization
Area served
Israel, Worldwide
Official language
Eli Beer
US$20 million (2018)
RemarksAwarded 2011 Israeli Presidential Award for Volunteerism

United Hatzalah ("united rescue" in Hebrew: איחוד הצלה) is an Israeli free, volunteer-based emergency medical services (EMS) organization throughout Israel with its headquarters based in Jerusalem. Its mission is to provide immediate medical intervention during the critical window between the onset of an emergency and the arrival of traditional ambulance assistance. It is one of many Hatzalah organizations in various parts of the world and the only one that includes women and non-Jewish volunteers.

United Hatzalah of Israel was founded in 2006 with the merger of several small local hatzalah organizations. It has grown to become the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer EMS organization in the world, with over 6,500 volunteer medical first responders nationwide, and additional chapters in Panama,[1] the United States,[2] and Ukraine.[3] The organization provides free services to all citizens regardless of race, religion, or national origin. With the help of its Uber-like GPS dispatch system and a fleet of rapid response ambucycles,[4] United Hatzalah has achieved an average response time of less than 3 minutes nationwide and 90 seconds in metropolitan areas.

United Hatzalah's national command center in Jerusalem uses an advanced GPS-based dispatch technology to identify the closest and most qualified volunteers and routes them to the scene of an emergency through a mobile device application. Approximately 1,000 volunteers are outfitted with medically equipped motorcycles, “ambucycles” capable of navigating around traffic jams to reach victims in as few as 90 seconds.[5] The remaining volunteers respond to emergencies using their own private cars, or organizational emergency e-bikes,[6] ambuboats,[7] or ATVs,[8] depending upon the location of the emergency. The organization is funded exclusively through private charitable support.

“Ambucycle” of United Hatzalah of Israel

Within Israel, individuals may contact United Hatzalah through its direct number, 1221; however, some dispatch information is received directly from national ambulance services. United Hatzalah in turn alerts and coordinates with local ambulances, Search and Rescue (SAR), fire,[9] and police services,[10] and the IDF,[11] when necessary.


United Hatzalah of Israel helicopter rescue

As a young EMT in Jerusalem, Eli Beer recognized that heavy urban traffic and narrow streets often prevented ambulances from arriving in time to save a victim.[12]

Initially, volunteers responded to fewer than 200 calls per day by monitoring two-way emergency radio scanners. As cellular technology evolved, volunteers migrated to a managed push-to-talk network, which enabled two-way communications between dispatchers and volunteer medics.

After the Second Lebanon War (Hebrew: מלחמת לבנון השנייה, Milhemet Levanon HaShniya) in 2006, Beer brought together more than 50 independent Hatzalah organizations to form United Hatzalah of Israel.

In 2008 United Hatzalah developed the LifeCompass GPS dispatch technology and mobile app medley capable of tracking the location of volunteers in real time, assessing the unique capabilities, mobility and equipment of the closest volunteers, and routing the most appropriate medics to any given emergency. Today, all volunteers receive a standard-issue smartphone linked to the second generation LifeCompass 2.0[13] command-and-control system.[14]

United Hatzalah responded immediately to the calls for medical assistance following Hamas' launch of terror attacks on Israel on the morning of October 7.[15] United Hatzalah set up a massive response in the south of Israel on the Gaza periphery to treat those injured in the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, and set up medical clinics throughout the Gaza periphery to treat wounded, alongside the IDF medical units. The organization works around the clock to treat thousands of people and provides medical aid and supplies to civilians and military personnel affected by the terror attacks.[16]

Results and demographics[edit]

United Hatzalah currently responds to approximately 1,800 calls per day and as many as 2,500 calls during large-scale emergencies such as the 2014 Israel–Gaza Conflict.[17] In 2019, the organization answered more than 650,000 calls, with a volunteer corps of nearly 7,000 medics, and a fleet of 1,000 ambucycles.[citation needed][18]

United Hatzalah's lifesaving model has reduced average first-response time to three minutes. Sudden cardiac arrest calls are the best measure of emergency medical performance.[citation needed][19] Since United Hatzalah's inception, the rate of cardiac-arrest deaths has decreased by 50%, according to the Israel Heart Society. At 46.4 deaths per 100,000 people, the World Health Organization reported in 2011 that Israel ranks 12th best out of 192 countries in terms of coronary-related mortality.[20]

United Hatzalah's volunteer base in 2018 is approximately 60% Jewish Religious, 30% Jewish Secular and 10% Minorities (Muslim, Christian and Druze).[21]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In recognition of his dedication to saving lives and efforts to create a multicultural, apolitical EMS organization, Eli Beer, on behalf of United Hatzalah, has received numerous international accolades, including the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneur Award (2010), the Israeli Presidential Award for Volunteerism (2011), the World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader award (2012), the Institute of International Education's Victor J. Goldberg Prize (2013), the OMETZ Social Responsibility Award (2015), the World Values Network Champion of Human Life Award (2016) and the Conference of European Rabbis Internet Entrepreneur Prize (2017).

In April 2013, Eli Beer presented a TedMed talk titled, "The fastest ambulance? A motorcycle," in which he describes the circumstances that led to him to re-imagine first-response medicine by training volunteer EMTs to respond to local emergencies and stabilize victims until official help arrives.[22] The video has been viewed more than a million times to date.

During the March 2015 American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington DC, United Hatzalah was honored as a featured innovator in AIPAC's Innovation Showcase, serving to highlight emerging technology developed in Israel but with worldwide impact.[23]

United Hatzalah has earned the Israeli Midot Seal of Effectiveness (2015), the GuideStar Platinum Participant status (2016) and Charity Navigator Four Star Rating (2016) for its operational professionalism and transparent management.

International aid[edit]

UH teams assist Ukrainian Refugees on flights to Israel as part of Operation Orange Wings

In addition to providing emergency medical services in Israel, United Hatzalah has been active in providing medical care, humanitarian aid, and psychological first aid, in numerous international disasters. The organization sent teams to Haiti multiple times,[24] Nepal after the earthquake in 2015[25] as well as assisting after Hurricanes Irma[26] and Harvey[27][28] in 2017 in the United States.

The organization's Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit also responded to the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting[29] in 2018, and to Miami following the Surfside condominium collapse in 2021.[30] In 2022, the organization undertook a lengthy medical and humanitarian aid mission to Moldova and Ukraine following the Russo-Ukrainian War[31] that involved providing medical and humanitarian aid and food to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, as well as flying in medications and food for hospitals and communities inside Ukraine, and extracting injured and ill refugees from Ukraine to receive medical treatment in other countries.[32] The organization also chartered a series of planes to bring in food and medical equipment and transport nearly 3,000 Ukrainian refugees to Israel[33] in an operation codenamed Operation Orange Wings.

In February 2023, United Hatzalah assisted in search-and-rescue operations in Turkey following the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake, but cut short its mission due to intelligence of a "concrete and immediate threat" targeting the group.[34]

In September 2023, United Hatzalah deployed an international aid team to Morocco to assist in the search-and-rescue operations after the 2023 Marrakesh–Safi earthquake. The group assisted in helping locals affected, providing supplies and rendering medical aid. [35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carni, Yaron. "Israel's 'Uber For First Responders' Goes Global". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  2. ^ "United Rescue kicks off in Jersey City". jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  3. ^ "United Hatzalah Builds New Chapter in Uman, Ukraine Organization Now Active in Five Countries". www.hmpgloballearningnetwork.com. August 22, 2017. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  4. ^ Isaac, David (2021-06-30). "Miriam Adelson donates 150 lifesaving 'ambucycles' to United Hatzalah". JNS.org. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  5. ^ Arom, Eitan; Schachne, Erica (January 1, 2015). "Just an Ambucycle Ride away". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "Israel inaugurates first-ever fleet of emergency electric bicycles for first responders". Israel National News. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  7. ^ "United Hatzalah's Tiberias Chapter Introduces Aquatic Rescue Drone". JEMS: EMS, Emergency Medical Services - Training, Paramedic, EMT News. 2021-08-29. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  8. ^ Poch854 (2020-02-10). "New Lifesaving ATV to Aid Gush Shiloh Residents". The Yeshiva World. Retrieved 2022-04-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Poch, Raphael (2018-03-26). "Fire and Rescue Department Commissioner: "Fire Fighters should Also Be EMTs" | Saving Lives in Israel with Rapid Emergency Response". Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  10. ^ Rudee, Eliana. "United Hatzalah Hosts Mass-Casualty Drill in Conjunction with Israeli Police, Local Soccer Team". Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  11. ^ "Volunteer EMS Organization United Hatzalah, Israel Defense Forces Hold Cooperative MCI Drill". JEMS. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  12. ^ Kessler, Andy (18 December 2022). "Tech and the Wisdom of Crowds". Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ "Hatzalah adapts to technological revolution - Technology & Health". Israel National News. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  14. ^ Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (May 7, 2012). "Gov't Dithers in Red Tape, Defibrillator Saves Life". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Report |, Staff (2023-10-09). "Operation Iron Swords update from United Hatzalah". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2023-10-16.
  16. ^ "Medics calling for more help in Israel - CBS News". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2023-10-16.
  17. ^ "Gaza War prompted numerous EMS changes in Israel". San Diego Jewish World. 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  18. ^ Isaac, David (30 June 2021). "Miriam Adelson donates 150 lifesaving 'ambucycles' to United Hatzalah". Jewish News Syndicate.
  19. ^ Perkins, Gavin; Lockey, Andrew; de Belder, Mark; Moore, Fiona; Weissberg, Peter; Gray, Huon (1 July 2016). "National initiatives to improve outcomes from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in England". BMJ Journals - Emergency Medicine Journal.
  20. ^ "Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  21. ^ Andrew Tobin. "The first medic to respond to the Temple Mount terror attack was Muslim. Here's his story". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  22. ^ "The Fastest Ambulance? A Motorcycle". TED (conference). Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  23. ^ Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (March 2, 2015). "Ambucycle Zooms into AIPAC Conference". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  24. ^ "Israeli medical, relief groups continue helping in Haiti". ISRAEL21c. 2016-10-30. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  25. ^ Desk, Jewish Press News. "Israeli Search and Rescue Organizations Arrive in Nepal". Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  26. ^ JNS.org (2017-09-14). "Israeli Aid Teams Deploy to Florida's Hardest Hit Areas in Wake of Hurricane Irma". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  27. ^ "Israel Rescue Coalition sends psychological aid team to help Harvey victims". EMS1. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  28. ^ "Israeli emergency team helps 'Harvey' victims". Israel National News. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  29. ^ "Israeli psychotrauma team en route to Pittsburgh to aid terror victims". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  30. ^ Sheinerman, Marie-Rose (June 30, 2021). "Not just search and rescue: Israeli-backed efforts bring trauma therapy to Surfside". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  31. ^ "United Hatzalah: The first medical team on the Ukrainian border". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  32. ^ Desk, Jewish Press News. "Hatzalah Covert Operations Deliver Medicine, Food, Aliyah Papers to Ukrainian Jews". Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  33. ^ "United Hatzalah helps over 2,000 Ukrainian refugees come to Israel". www.israelhayom.com. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  34. ^ Gold, Hadas (12 February 2023). "Israeli aid group leaves Turkey due to 'immediate' security threat". CNN. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  35. ^ Gale, Ben (2023-09-19). "Israeli aid team in Morocco saves lives". JNS.org. Retrieved 2023-10-16.

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