Murad Alyan, an Arab medical translator and Chief of the East Jerusalem Bureau of United Hatzalah, an all-volunteer emergency medical service, received the 2013 Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East from the Institute of International Education (IIE), along with United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer.
The two leaders were honored for bringing Jewish and Arab volunteers together to provide first response emergency services to all people, regardless of ethnicity or religion throughout Israel. As their certificate reads, "The Institute of International Education proudly presents this award to recognize their courage and commitment to overcoming the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political differences that divide the Middle East. We commend their collaboration in the hope that their work will inspire others on the path to peace." The Goldberg award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented to Mr. Alyan and Mr. Beer at a ceremony at the American Center in Jerusalem.
Mr. Beer founded United Hatzalah in West Jerusalem in 2006. Mr. Alyan, having witnessed tragic losses of life in East Jerusalem due to the delayed arrivals of medical responders, approached Mr. Beer about a joint venture to provide a similar service in East Jerusalem. Mr. Beer agreed to expand the United Hatzalah services to East Jerusalem, with the condition that the East Jerusalem volunteers respond to emergencies both inside and outside of the area.
United Hatzalah now has more than 2,000 Jewish and Muslim, secular and religious, and male and female volunteers who are trained as emergency medical responders. These volunteers, who undergo a minimum of 200 course hours of training, as well as field experience, are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Last year, they treated 207,000 people with a two to three-minute response time. Making this possible is their fleet of ambucycles, which are able to travel through the narrow alleyways of Jerusalem and arrive before the regular ambulances.
Thanks to this joint venture, the nearly 100 Arab United Hatzalah responders are not only respected leaders within their own communities, but have also garnered the respect of non-Arab citizens who have benefited from their medical services. Working together in this live-saving capacity has also brought Arab and Jewish volunteers together socially for important life events and family occasions. United Hatzalah's model and innovative technology are being adopted in Brazil, Mexico, and Panama. Go to http://unitedhatzalah.org to read more about Hatzalah.