Following ongoing conflicts between the United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency organizations, primarily Hatzalah’s contention that MDA was not forwarding information about emergencies, leading rabbonim proclaimed that people should only contact Hatzalah in emergency situations. This led to a rapid conciliation between the two groups.
The main contention between the two groups centered round MDA’s reluctance to comply with a 2014 agreement whereby MDA was to transfer information of emergencies to United Hatzalah personnel who are often able to reach emergences sooner.
Although the information is readily available on MDA’s “Ne’eman Chaim” digital smartphone application, gedolim disapproved of Hatzalah using it due to preference to dealing with life and death matters on a human level, because of the prohibition against using smartphones and the fact that personal communications are more effective in determining who is closest to an emergency.
Noting that United Hatzalah personnel usually reach scenes of tragedy a little earlier than MDA ambulances, the rabbonim initially instructed that “because MDA is presently not transferring medical information needed by United Hatzalah volunteers who can help save lives, in cases of need, as a means of hishtadlus, one should inform the call center of United Hatzalah.”
After the rapid conciliation, new announcements instructed the public to call MDA instead, noting that all calls would be routed to Hatzalah as well. Signatories to the letters included Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein of the Degel Hatorah Moetzes, Rav Shimon Ba’adani of the Shas Moetzet, and Rav Ezriel Auerbach.