Israel wears many different hats: Jewish homeland, tech hub, and democracy, just to name a few. However, to understand Israeli culture, you must account for its relative infancy as a state and what impact this has throughout society. As with any new country, Israel has faced its fair share of challenges, many of which are security-related.

Israeli society has adapted to rapid second-by-second response systems due to the violent threats it often faces. Visionaries at United Hatzalah have adapted this mindset to assist individuals in need medically.

United Hatzalah operates as a volunteer-based organization that delivers immediate medical assistance to individuals in need throughout Israel. This past December, I had the privilege of visiting United Hatzalah in Jerusalem and was completely mesmerized by the organization.

Photo: Israel National News

The volunteer organization seeks to limit wait times for individuals needing immediate medical attention. While calling an ambulance for assistance is certainly a necessary protocol under particular conditions, oftentimes, there can be a long wait time until the ambulance arrives. That is where United Hatzalah is changing the game–they ensure a ninety-second response time.

Nearby volunteers are notified immediately once the person seeking medical attention signals for help, and whether it be by car, moped, bicycle, boat, or any other means of transportation, United Hatzalah ensures someone will be there to assist you within ninety seconds. During their route to the patient needing medical assistance, an ambulance is alerted so as to ensure that they will be following behind later.

This organization is completely changing our understanding of emergency medical situations. Additionally, United Hatzalah volunteers reflects Israel’s diverse culture through its staff of male and female Jewishs, Arab, Muslim, and Christian Israelis.

In recent years, the organization has gained some traction in parts of the United States. Just imagine the implications of United Hatzalah’s service on crowded blocks like Times Square in New York City. In the more than twenty minutes it could take an ambulance to arrive on the scene, United Hatzalah could have already provided life saving emergency treatment.

I was able to see United Hatzalah rise to action. Someone at our hotel had injured themselves by falling and their family member immediately called United Hatzalah. As promised, a medical volunteer arrived to the hotel within ninety seconds of the incident. It is incredible that there is now a medical service that can provide assistance in such a short timeframe.

United Hatzalah is just one of over 1,800 startup companies found throughout Israel today. Another international app Waze has become a global sensation to create more efficient efficient travel routes and updates for drivers. Israeli innovators are continuing to find ways to maximize time and efficiency in everyday life. They are continuing to make the desert bloom.

The conception and success of United Hatzalah is representative of the Israeli spirit for quick and effective innovation. Israel, the original startup nation, transcends from its very beginning. It fosters an environment of innovation and triumph despite unfavorable odds.

Israel’s inception itself began as a startup. Through the collected and determined will to create a Zionist nation, a dream became a reality in 1948. Seven decades since, the desert has bloomed into a hub for technological innovation, medical breakthroughs, agricultural revolutions, and thriving democracy.

Israel has established itself as one of the world’s leading states in entrepreneurial spirit, measured by startups and tech hubs. This environment for innovation continues to help Israel strengthen old alliances and form new ones. For example, as the leader in desalination efforts, Israel played a major role in aiding in California’s recent drought crises.

United Hatzalah is a microcosm of the innovative Israeli mind: maximizing efficiency and finding ways to help others. By providing immediate medical assistance, this organization is helping individuals around the world faster than ever before. As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, it continues to shine as a beacon of democracy and hub of scientific and technological creation. It is with great joy and optimism that I look forward to what the next 70 Israel will bring.

Contributed by UNC-Chapel Hill CAMERA Fellow Danielle Adler.

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