What the U.S. Can Learn from Israel about Emergency Medical Response

When there is a terrorist attack, car accident, or any other emergency in Israel, often the first people to tend to the wounded are members of the volunteer paramedical group United Hatzalah. Mark Hemingway, noting that America suffers from a shortage of professional paramedics—a situation expected to worsen in the coming years—suggests copying Hatzalah’s successes:

United Hatzalah . . . provides medical training and supplies to over 4,000 volunteers across Israel. When emergencies are reported to the authorities, United Hatzalah is also made aware of the location and notifies nearby volunteers through its own communication network, often by text message. Volunteers are not obligated to respond but almost always do. United Hatzalah claims an impressive average response time of under three minutes; in some cities, the average response time is under 90 seconds.

The organization has made some pioneering innovations. The fast response times are often attributed to the “ambucycles” it supplies to volunteers. They are essentially motor scooters packed with a complete trauma kit and advanced medical devices such as defibrillators, blood-sugar monitors, and oxygen tanks. The scooters can bypass traffic jams, go around debris, ride on sidewalks, and otherwise avoid impediments that would stop an ambulance. . . .

[In the U.S.], one way to alleviate the strain on professional first responders would be to give emergency medical training to thousands of volunteers in all walks of American life. United Hatzalah has an American affiliate, United Rescue, that is in its infancy and currently working to import United Hatzalah’s model of training and deploying volunteers in a pilot program in Jersey City. However, there’s a very long way to go before United Rescue would make the same impact here as United Hatzalah in Israel. In terms of relative population, 4,000 volunteer responders in Israel would be the equivalent of adding 160,000 volunteers in America. Not helping matters . . . is quite a bit of union opposition from professional first responders to the idea of an army of volunteers.

Still, it’s hard to imagine Americans objecting to the thought of 100,000 new ambucycles patrolling the streets. And unlike, say, the debate over gun rights, emergency medical training is hardly controversial: voluntarism speaks to America’s Tocquevillean traditions, and such programs can even start in schools.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Alexis de Tocqueville, Israel & Zionism, Medicine


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7