The medics, paramedics and volunteers of Magen David Adom, Israel’s only national medical emergency service, were given a heroes’ welcome at a gala hosted by MDA UK.
The dinner, which raised £13m for the charity, showcased the work of Magen David Adom since Operation Swords of Iron began on October 7, provoked by a terrorist attack by Hamas, which killed 1,200. Around 240 people were taken hostage into Gaza and thousands of Israelis have been injured since the attacks.
Organisers said the event at the Peninsula Hotel in Hyde Park was both “an opportunity for the UK community to thank the tens of thousands of MDA volunteers and medics who proudly wear their uniforms and perform their duties to save more lives and to honour those who tragically lost their lives trying to save others”.
Russell Jacobs, chairman of MDA UK, shared a message from friend and partner Dr Mohammed Al-Hadid, president of the Jordan National Red Crescent Society and the man responsible for getting MDA admitted to the International Red Cross Federation. He said that Dr Al-Hadid immediately expressed his “heartfelt shock at the events of 7th October” and reaffirmed his “faith in our joint humanitarian mission” Quoting Dr Al-Hadid’s letter, Jacobs said: “We must, as partners, remain undeterred in our joint mission to save lives.”
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum and Israeli Ambasador H.E. Mrs Tzipi Hotovely at MDA UK gala dinner (MDA UK)
The audience heard the personal stories of four MDA lifesavers, Adi, Ophir, Sharon and Shunit, who received a standing ovation when introduced by host, barrister and TV personality Rob Rinder.
Keynote speaker, Peter Kyle MP, shadow secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, described MDA as “a world leader in health and emergency care” and recounted finding a “culture of volunteerism and innovation” when he visited MDA on a visit to Israel.
MDA dispatch centre shift manager, SharonTemis, explains to Peter Kyle MP how the call centre operates (MDA UK)
An empty table was set up with a place set for each of the MDA team who had been murdered on October 7.