Ichud Hatzalah will work together with Magen David Adom in taking responsibility for responding to calls for assistance, the Health Ministry announced. The deal is the result of a long discussion process between the two groups.
Under the deal, calls will be channeled through 101, the MDA emergency call number, and MDA will inform Ichud Hatzalah workers in specific areas that emergency help is needed. In addition, MDA will develop a mobile app that will allow users to direct calls for emergency help to the closest rescue workers from either group. As a result, Ichud Hatzalah will halt an ad campaign in which the organization advertised its phone number as one Israelis should call in case of emergency.
While not exactly in competition with each other, there is a certain amount of tension between MDA and Ichud Hatzalah, with the latter claiming that the veteran life-saving organization seeks to cut it out from handling emergency calls altogether, while the former is said to resent the “upstart” organization’s work and popularity.
In recent weeks Ichud Hatzalah has been running a radio ad campaign in which it urges those who face an emergency to call a special phone number, promising a response within minutes from citizens who have been trained in life-saving techniques.
In recent days, Ichud Hatzalah opened a new telephone exchange to handle the increasing number of phone calls. The new deal, said Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, resolves the long-standing dispute between the groups, and will ensure better emergency service care for all Israelis.