On Friday 20th November, British Gap Year Students were invited, for the first time in over 20 years, to give blood in Israel.
British students were invited to the MDA Headquarters in Jerusalem where they were met by the British Ambassador, David Quarrey, participated in a tour of the building, and (those who were eligible) gave blood. Out of approximately 50 participants, MDA received 37 blood unit donations.
The initiative, from Magen David Adom UK in conjunction with Mitzvah Day, recognised that British people in Israel have long wanted to donate blood, but have been prevented in doing so because of laws surrounding the ‘Mad Cow Disease’ outbreak in the 1980’s. Now, the post-6th form students currently in Israel and around the world were born in 1997, so they are now eligible.
In light of the recent spate of terror attacks, Israeli authorities have sent out urgent appeals for blood.
British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey commented: “As British Ambassador to Israel, I was delighted to join the hundreds of people across the UK volunteering for Mitzvah Day – a unique social action initiative. It was wonderful to see so many young volunteers on their gap year in Israel take part in the MDA UK blood drive. MDA UK has helped to make a real difference to numerous lives in Israel through its support for MDA and its medics who carry out their vital work on a daily basis.”
Magen David Adom Chief Executive Daniel Burger sees this as a pivotal moment for UK supporters of MDA: “For the first time in a very long time, through giving blood, young British people can make a real difference in helping Magen David Adom to save lives in Israel. This comes at a time when MDA and our blood services have been pushed to the limit in being ready for the most unpredictable of attacks”.