Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Magen David Adom in East Jerusalem

My daughter has been volunteering as a medic on the ambulances of Magen David for six or seven years, which means throughout the 2nd Intifada. This morning she had a shift, and this evening she mentioned, in passing, an important fact that is known by thousands of people, but if you aren't one of them you'd never hear of it.

The ambulances serve whoever needs them, irrespective of identity obviously. However, whenever they are called to assist a patient in Arab East Jerusalem, they race to the outskirts of the Arab neighborhood.... and then wait. Only once they are joined by a police or border-police jeep, with armed policemen, are they allowed into the Arab neighborhood, even if the wait may endanger the patient. The reason for this peculiar behavior is that the ambulance teams are mostly Jews, and in the past there were cases where they were attacked as Jews in an Arab neighborhood, even though their attackers had to have known that the reason for their presence could only have been to offer succor to an Arab resident.

Back at the height of the Intifada, Nechama told of cases where even though they were accompanied by armed policemen, the hostility was palpable and threatening.

You might want to think through the implications of this story. And then ask yourself why you've never heard it before.

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