Thursday morning began with the horrible news that a school bus carrying Palestinian children on a day trip to the Ramallah area was hit by a truck and flipped on its side. The bus was returning to school due to poor weather conditions when it was struck by a truck and immediately caught fire.
Thankfully, United Hatzalah's network of more than 1,700 medically trained and equipped volunteers from all backgrounds is able to respond to any emergency call throughout the State of Israel, for free, within 2 to 3 minutes. Four United Hatzalah medics from Settlement Tel Zion and additional Arab volunteers from East Jerusalem quickly arrived to join the effort to save the children from the burning bus.
The mission of United Hatzalah is to save lives and it is that common appreciation for life that united our medics and the Palestinian passersby in the effort to save the trapped Palestinian children.
I truly believe in the guiding principle that no life needs to be lost when a volunteer can save it. This is why I am thankful that United Hatzalah medics, working alongside The Red Crescent, the Israeli Defense Forces and Magen David Adom, were able to extract and treat many of the children that were trapped within the wreckage.
In total, this tragic accident (as of Friday morning) resulted in the death of eight people -- mostly children -- and the injury of approximately 36 others. It is difficult to cope with an accident of this magnitude, especially when the victims are innocent, young children, but it reflects the need for fast and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel, without regard to race, religion or national origin. I truly believe that we are all connected and that if we work together, we can save lives throughout the world.