Volunteer Tourism with Magen David Adom

Filed in Volunteer Tourism by on 07/07/2013 2 Comments
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Israel Volunteer Tourism with Magen David Adom

Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency and blood services is all about saving lives and has opened windows of opportunities for volunteers and tourists. On its flag are the words from the Talmud:

MDA Ambulance

MDA Ambulance (Photo: Public Domain)

“Whoever saves a single life of Israel is as though he has saved the whole world.”

Israel, being a Jewish country, uses a red Magen David (star of David) rather than a red cross or crescent as their insignia and also on their ambulances. Since the International Red Cross only recognized a cross or crescent emblem, MDA was not accepted to be an official member until 2006 after MDA agreed that in international operations it would place a diamond shaped emblem in conjunction with the Magen David.

Amazingly, MDA is not funded by the Israeli government and depends on the generosity of donations such as those from Friends of Magen David Adom and Christian Friends of Magen David Adom.

MDA’s emergency medical assistance deals with half a million cases a year. They operate more than 900 ambulances, mobile intensive care units, blood mobiles, emergency motor bikes and intensive care helicopters. Their National First Responders Unit has over 3000 workers and volunteers. They have trained more than 14,000 volunteers, half of whom are youths, who operate from over 120 emergency stations all over the country. Every year MDA collects 53,000 voluntary blood donations that supply all of the blood needs of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Overseas Volunteer Program

Injured Woman

Injured Woman (Photo: Edi Israel, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The MDA Overseas Volunteer Program in conjunction with the Israel Experience offers young adults from all over the world,  the opportunity to become certified first responders. Participants, between the ages of 18-30, complete a very intensive 60 hour first aid course over a 10 day period. After learning CPR, simple bandaging and how to deal with mass casualties, the volunteers take part in MDA’s lifesaving efforts by working in Israeli ambulances for six months to a year. This special training can be in preparation for further medical or graduate studies. This program was established in the memory of Yochai Porat z”l who at one time headed this volunteer program. Yochai was on reserve duty March 3, 2002 when he was shot and killed while he ran to give emergency aid to soldiers who had been shot by a Palestinian sniper.

It is important to stress that volunteers must know some Hebrew and MDA offers an online Hebrew course by Ulpan Or that after two months equips volunteers with enough Hebrew to get started. For those in need of housing it is available in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Carmiel and Beer Sheva. For further information email: mda@israelexperience.org.il or phone: +972-2-621 6295.

Programs for Tourists

MDA Helicopter

MDA Helicopter (Photo: Public Domain)

MDA offers special programs to groups of tourists and Christian groups of any size in multiple languages. This includes a free visit and tour of one of the Israeli MDA stations or a visit to the MDA Blood Services Center where they also meet with MDA volunteers. For those desiring it there is a special mini course available in First Aid and CPR training. More advanced training is available by request. Tourists also can donate blood unless they are from countries where there is a possibility of transmitting diseases. For your convenience a technician can come to your hotel or elsewhere to obtain your blood donation.

Did You Know?

MDA provides international assistance and is also involved in earthquake preparedness. After the severe earthquake in Haiti, MDA provided Haiti with professional humanitarian aid. MDA has also sent dozens of humanitarian aid missions to help victims of natural disasters all over the world.


Comments (2)

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  1. Peter Maule says:

    Would love to volunteer how can one get involved?

  2. rj says:

    It’s a fantastic organization.Connect here to the volunteer program.

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