Dr Judith Guedalia

Press release


Hatzalah Yosh now Saving Lives in Sri Lanka

By Order of Israel's Chief Rabbis

 Week after refusing an Israeli aid delegation, Sri Lankan authorities, due to the enormity of the disaster and mounting need for medical assistance, accepted the offer of assistance made by Israel's Chief Rabbis. On Wednesday, January 5th a delegation of volunteer workers from Hatzalah Yosh, left for Colombo, Sri Lnaka, in order to assist with the local medical and emergency service needs. The delegation left Ben Gurion International airport at 17:15 with Rabbi Metzger present.


The Hatzalah Yosh organization was approached by Israel's Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger to organize a delegation. Rabbi Metzger felt that the Jewish nation held a moral obligation that could not be overlooked, and this was to aid the helpless people and disaster wrought area of South East Asia. The delegation was given the blessing of the former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who is the President of Hatzalah Yosh. The delegation will be led by a physician from Modiyin, Dr. Shimoni. The medical personnel will include physicians, paramedics, and medics who regularly volunteer in Hatzalah Yosh. The delegation traveled with 1.5 ton of medical equipment, which was specially donated for this mission, and other medical equipment, including many of the much needed water purification systems, will assist in providing the best and most efficient medical care. This trip is intended to be a preliminary visit, in order to provide initial medical care and assess the need for another delegation which will leave for Sri Lanka at a later date. The delegation has been funded by a Israeli-French associated press.

Aryeh Levi, the organization's vice-chairman, who traveled with the delegation as a medic, reported that the delegation landed in Sri Lanka on Thursday morning, January 6th, and was welcomed by the local health department. A short time after their arrival they received an urgent call from the health department to leave for a town called Gal, where the local hospital had been totally destroyed. Shortly, after arriving in Gal the delegation established a field hospital in the former college, which survived the disaster. The delegation reported dealing with many cases of disease, and remarked on the spread of these horrible diseases. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of Sate, now touring the disaster area is scheduled to visit the Gala field hospital. 

The delegation next plans to travel along the coast, and attempt to reach those areas struck by disaster, who have yet to receive medical emergency care.

Hatzalah Yosh organization was established in October 2000, following the outbreak of the Intifada. The organization operates in order to saves lives, provides first aid, and acts as additional medical forces in security areas in Israel. The organization acts in full cooperation with the IDF, security services and civil representatives. Hatzalah Yosh is a humanitarian organization, comprised only of volunteer workers, and today numbers approximately 700 professional volunteers, including doctors with trauma expertise, nurses, paramedics and senior medics. Hatzalah Yosh is now not only working to save lives within Israel, but now working to save those disaster wrought lives in South East Asia, and wherever they are needed.

Tags: Aryeh Levi | Dr. Shimoni | Hatzalah Yosh | Humanitarian Organization | Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu | Sri Lanka