Rabbi Moshe Scheiner, rabbi of Palm Beach Synagogue, his wife Dina and fifty celebrants had just left a reception in Tel Aviv, Israel hosted by United Hatzalah, the independent, non-profit, volunteer, emergency medical services organization. It was Thursday, April 18, Israel’s Independence Day.
On March 25, 2018 Palm Beach Synagogue had invited parents of the victims of the February 14th mass shooting in Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, FL to the synagogue to meet members who donated nine ambucycles to United Hatzelah in memory of their children.
At the time, Rabbi Scheiner said “The response to evil is increased goodness. The response to hatred is increased love. And the response to death is to help save the lives of others.”
Now, in Tel Aviv, dozens of international supporters who had donated a total of seventy ambucycles to commemorate Israel’s seventieth anniversary, gathered to witness the delivery of the vehicles. It had been a festive occasion, following which, the group boarded a bus and drove along the world famous Tel Aviv beach to their next destination, an Independence Day celebration.
Upon hearing the siren, Eli Beer, founder of United Hatzelah and president of U.S. based Friends of United Hatzelah, looked at his cell phone and informed the group that there was drowning in progress on the adjacent shore.
Rabbi Scheiner looked out the rear window of the bus and saw a United Hatzelah ambucycle weaving its way in and out of the stalled traffic racing to the scene within seconds. Behind it, stuck in traffic, was an ambulance.
Beer created United Hatzelah after he witnessed the Bus #12 bombing near Tel Aviv in1978. It remains one of Israel’s worst terrorist attacks. He recognized that lives were being lost due to the inability of emergency vehicles to reach the victims.
Today, United Hatzelah has over 4,000 volunteer emergency medical technicians, certified responders, paramedics and doctors on call, connected by a state-of-the-art GPS system.
They serve terror victims but they also deliver babies, assist heart attack victims and treat all who require immediate emergency assistance.
When Rabbi Scheiner and his wife returned to Palm Beach, he told the congregation that there had been a visiting member couple at the dedication. They stood up and announced that they would dedicate a tenth ambucyle.