Popular Articles

The War Effort Through The Eyes Of Arab-Israeli First Responders

Volunteers from the Rahat chapter in the Gaza Periphery have been responding nonstop to medical emergencies and communal efforts.

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Arab volunteers in the United Hatzalah ambulance shift from the Bedouin city of Rahat covers first-responder needs in the Gaza Periphery, October 2023. (Photo: United Hatzalah)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

It’s been six years since Gaber Abo Gafer joined United Hazalah and founded the Rahat chapter in Israel.

Their continuous contribution has made them an integral part of United Hatzalah’s lifesaving efforts during the war as well as during peacetime.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, at the onset of the attack by Hamas against Israel, members of the Rahat chapter responded to five missile attacks within the city. Rahat is a predominately Arab Bedouin city in the south of Israel with a population of almost 80,000. It includes volunteers from the Arab towns and communities in the area and provides service to those towns, as well as to anyone on the roadways in the region.

Today, that chapter has grown and consists of 70 first responders—11 of them women. Their continuous contribution has made them an integral part of United Hatzalah’s lifesaving efforts during the war as well as during peacetime.

Previous slide
Next slide

Since the onset of the war, volunteers from the chapter have been responding nonstop to medical emergencies, and communal efforts in the area, including providing humanitarian aid to residents of, and first responders in the Gaza Periphery.

Some of these communal efforts also expand beyond medical assistance and focus on a deep sense of brotherhood and solidarity. Within the city of Rahat lies a kosher-food manufacturing plant, but due to the recent security developments, it was abandoned. The Rahat volunteers, together with other local community members, saw this as an opportunity and used its facilities to make hot kosher meals for the soldiers and first responders on the frontlines.

Another example took place on Shabbat when Muslim members of the Rahat chapter, from the city and the surrounding area, took over many of the ambulance shifts in the Gaza Periphery, enabling their Jewish peers to have a day of rest.

“Medical response in times of war has a unique added challenge, since the volunteers don’t only need to respond to the medical emergency, but also need to protect themselves while doing so,” Gaffer explained.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

On Monday, Oct. 9 just after 11 p.m., a terrorist was headed towards Rahat. The police were dispatched to the scene, as well as United Hatzalah volunteers. However, Abu Gafer was forced to respond to this emergency alone since there were not enough bullet-proof vests and helmets for the rest of his team.

“There are 70 volunteers in the city and only one set of protective equipment,” said Samara Ala, head of the Muslim and Christian divisions of United Hatzalah. “These are critical supplies right now, as during wartime our volunteers are not allowed to respond to medical emergencies outside of their own town without this protective equipment. It is simply too dangerous in many parts of the country. This is why we need more donations so that we can purchase more bulletproof vests and helmets for all of our volunteers.”

Volunteers from the Bedouins city of Rahat in southern Israel prepare kosher food for soldiers and first responders in the Gaza Periphery, October 2023. (Photo: United Hatzalah)

With the recent purchase of medical supplies and protective equipment, a number of vests have been allocated to volunteers in Rahat but not enough to supply the majority of the team.

“We have more than 700 Muslim and Christian volunteers in United Hatzalah who are spread out from the Galilee to the southern Negev,” Samara explained. “These volunteers treat every injured or ill person who needs help, regardless of religion or nationality. At United Hatzalah, we give our time to save lives, and we do that from a strong belief that we should help any person in need of medical attention.”

He continued: “We are very proud to be a part of the United Hatzalah family. During this time of conflict, we have been very active—whether it has been with renewing and updating equipment; conducting training exercises; or coordinating efforts with the local and regional municipalities. Whether it is in Arab villages, major cities or on the roads, we continue to respond to medical emergencies and save lives every day. Together, we pray for better days.”

Samara concluded by saying that “the Arab chapters of United Hatzalah have come out in force to help save lives during this difficult period. At the beginning of this past Shabbat, more than two dozen Muslim volunteers took over ambulance shifts in the Gaza Periphery in order to respond to any and all medical emergencies in the region. This is in addition to the numerous Muslim and Christian volunteers who joined the relief efforts in the days immediately following the Hamas attack. Some of our members have been killed, including Awad Darusha, and others injured like Dr. Tarek Abu Arar, who was held hostage, used as a human shield and shot by Hamas. Yet we are proud that we are able to do our part and save lives.”

United Hatzalah of Israel is the largest independent, nonprofit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization that provides the fastest emergency medical first response throughout Israel for free. Its service is available to all people regardless of race, religion or national origin. United Hatzalah has more than 5,000 volunteers across the country, available around the clock—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With the help of GPS technology and iconic ambucycles, its network of volunteers has an average response time of less than three minutes. In some metropolitan areas, the average response time is 90 seconds. Its mission is to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies as soon as possible and provide the patient with professional and appropriate medical aid until an ambulance arrives, resulting in more lives saved.

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Previous slide
Next slide

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved