The Magen David Adom emergency service inaugurated on Thursday five bullet-proof ambulances donated by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson for use in West Bank settlements.
In unveiling the ambulances at a ceremony at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, MDA Director Eli Bin announced that the emergency service’s new headquarters currently being constructed in Ramle would be named after the casino magnate and his physician wife.
The ambulances will serve the settlements of Hebron, Efrat, Ofra, Karnei Shomron and Ariel, replacing transports that are over 15 years old, MDA said in a statement.
In addressing the ceremony, Miriam Adelson reflected on her long relationship with MDA that began when she worked as a doctor in Tel Aviv.
“MDA is a global leader in emergency medical treatment, which shows that Israeli society is in a very good position,” she said. “Magen David Adom, we are proud of you, and it is a great honor for us to help you.”
Shlomo Vaknin, regional security director for the Yesha settlement umbrella council, highlighted the necessity for such transports in his remarks. “It is proven that bullet-proof ambulances save many lives. They enable paramedics to treat patients without fear, allowing them to concentrate on the medical treatment rather than worrying about their surroundings.”
In thanking the Adelsons for their donation, Bin added that the couple had “modestly and generously” also supported the establishment of a national blood bank, which is being built underground and protected from rocket attack. “It will serve residents of the state of Israel in both routine and emergency situations,” he said.
Asked by reporters after the ceremony if he was trying to make a statement in donating ambulances for use in the settlements in particular, Adelson responded that “there are Jews there and Arabs there too,” ostensibly referring to the fact that both Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank are treated by MDA.
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) January 4, 2018
In June, the Adelsons were in Israel to lay the cornerstone for a new School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement.
During his speech thanking the couple for their generosity, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu switched to English to hail the Adelsons as “not only good friends but huge supporters of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”
Sheldon Adelson is known for his support and financial backing of Netanyahu and the settlement movement as a whole. He is also a key supporter of US President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.