Lead Young: Revolutionizing emergency response and uniting people in Israel and the world

Eli Beer
Curated Story
This article originally appeared on leadyoung.ashoka.org

When he was only 6-years-old, Eli Beer and his brother witnessed a bus bombing while walking home from school in Jerusalem. Eli heard someone calling out for help from amidst the chaos, but he didn’t know what to do and ran from the scene. The experience was life-changing. Eli’s feeling of trauma following the attack motivated him to learn how to help save lives in emergencies.

In 2006, Eli established United Hatzalah of Israel launching new volunteer rescue chapters throughout the country as well as recruiting rescue networks already active within Israel under the United Hatzalah umbrella. Now officially recognized as a national emergency response organization, United Hatzalah coordinates the activities of more than 3,000 medics, paramedics and doctors across the country responding to more than 700 calls a day.

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Eli’s critical innovation to getting response times down was recognizing the need for every person to be involved regardless of their religion. Eli noted that this integration was very hard in the beginning. “There were big differences in culture, there was a trust problem. Now that we have volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds working together, people understand they have a lot more in common and respect each other. Our volunteers fight together for life.” Because of this, the United Hatzalah is also a model for peaceful collaboration in Israel's contentious political climate.

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