A star-studded New York City gala raised a record of $4.5 million for Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency response, ambulance and blood services organization.
Headlining the event hosted by the American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) was former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, NBC’s Willie Geist and journalist Barbara Walters, who was presented with the AFMDA’s Humanitarian Award for her “dedication to philanthropy and humanitarian causes.”
“This award matters because the honor comes from an organization which has made such an impact on people’s lives whether in Israel, a country that has a special place in all of our hearts, or other places around the world suffering from other disasters,” Walters said, in accepting the award.
The MDA is at the frontlines of many of Israel’s national tragedies, including the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Israel. MDA paramedic Akiva Pollack, who was a first emergency responder on the scene of the Jerusalem synagogue attack in Haf Nof last month, addressed the audience on his actions that day.
The MDA said most of the funds raised will go to building a new blood center in Israel. The current building was constructed in 1980. It can no longer serve Israel’s growing population and is vulnerable to terror attacks and natural disasters.