Parkland victims honored with new Israeli ‘ambucycles’

As the State of Israel prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence, a leading Israeli volunteer organization is providing “ambucycles” in honor of the Parkland school shooting victims.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

As part of the Jewish state’s Independence Day celebrations next Thursday, a leading Israeli organization will oversee the donation of a whole new fleet of 70 specialized ambulance-motorcycles (“ambucycles”).

Nine of the new ambucycles were donated in response to the tragedy of the mass shooting in a Florida high school in February. The Jewish community of Palm Beach, Florida raised the money “to leave a legacy of lifesaving for the children and teachers killed in the horrific attack,” according to the organization’s statement. Five of the 17 students and staff members killed by a white supremacist at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were Jewish.

The ambucycles will be numbered 1948 through 2018, one for each year of modern Israel’s existence, and donors can choose to fund a specific year that means something special to them. The dedication ceremony will take place in Bat Yam, in the presence of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, and Professor Alan Dershowitz, the well-known law professor and author who has defended and supported Israel on countless occasions in public forums.

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United Hatzala (UH), the free Israeli volunteer-based Emergency Medical Services organization is organizing the ambucycle donations.

Dershowitz donated part of one of the ambucycles in honor of his 80th birthday. “I can’t imagine a charity more worthy of my support than United Hatzalah,” he said. “The organization and its volunteers are leading the way in innovation and are often the first to arrive in cases of medical emergencies and at the scenes of acts of terrorism.”

UH boasts a network of nearly 5,000 volunteer medics, paramedics, doctors and nurses that, according to founder Eli Beer, has allowed it to achieve a 90-second response time in dense urban areas.

“What we have done with our model of combining ambucycles with our volunteer responders, is created a social innovation that some have called a ‘flash mob of lifesaving,’” he said in a UH statement.

The ambucycle is not the only vehicle the organization has that allows its first responders to get to an emergency in a hurry, even through the worst traffic – or the roughest terrain. They also have electric bicycles and Rescue ATVs (Ambutractors), whose four-wheel drives can get to victims in forests, deserts, and mountains.

Since its founding in 2006, United Hatzalah volunteers have responded to over 2.5 million emergency calls throughout the country. Their members come from every community and religion in Israel.