The short answer is – you shouldn’t.
Or at least you shouldn’t pay for it anymore than you would for anything else that should be provided by the state.
But like most things the State provides, private and charitable funding can make a good service, a great service.
OK – but an ambulance service is a basic function of society. We don’t even fund ambulances here in the UK, why should we give to ambulances in Israel?
That’s not entirely accurate. Different countries operate in different ways. The various air ambulance providers in the UK depend upon tens of millions of pounds of charity every year. St. John’s ambulance raises over £100m. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution over £200m! As we said, good services, made great through charity.
Good question. When Israel was established just over seven decades ago, it depended upon global Jewish philanthropy for pretty much everything. Infrastructure, the army and even ElAl were funded by Zionists from across the world.
Therefore it made sense that the ambulance service was too. After all, there was no state, no taxes, no healthcare system. It had to start somewhere…
In fact, Magen David Adom’s existence pre-dated the State by 18 years. So, when Israel was established it inherited a functioning emergency medical service, one that the Knesset mandated in 1950 to be the only, official national provider in Israel. You might have heard of other organisations, such as Hatzalah, that provide a localised first-responder service, but only MDA is completely national. Dial 101 and you get through to MDA – no one else.
Magen David Adom is not just a network of ambulances and ambulance stations that cover the length and breadth of Israel. Did you know that MDA is also responsible for collecting and delivering almost every drop of blood in Israel (and 100% of all blood units required by the IDF)? Or all First Aid training? Or that it is the country’s largest volunteer organisation? Or that it provides food parcels to the poor at Rosh Hashanah and Pesach. In fact, Magen David Adom provides services and resources that it simply could not afford to do if it were a government run agency.
That’s true. It’s incomparable to the London Ambulance Service for example. A completely different organisation with different functions and, ultimately, financial pressures. Pressures that come as a result of the neighbours on its borders and the costs involved to save lives on the frontline.
Jewish people and communities have always looked to support Israel and to make Israel the best it can possibly be. Supporting Magen David Adom is a manifestation of this. A donation to MDA is a donation to the ultimate expression of Jewish ideals and values. A public service, in the Jewish State, that saves the lives of Arabs, Christians and Druze, male and female without ever asking about race, religion or gender. A life-saving service that makes Israel an even better country and serves as a beacon of light for Jews across the world.
Magen David Adom needs our support and we enhance our connection to Israel by supporting Magen David Adom.