During his first visit to Israel, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Bekele Geleta, reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Magen David Adom in Israel (MDA) and improving collaboration between the two organizations.
“In carrying out their mandated role as auxiliary to government while maintaining independence, MDA is among the leading National Societies I visited when it comes to providing every day life-saving services to the most vulnerable people,” underlined Mr Geleta.
Mr Geleta used the opportunity to raise his serious concern about recent news reports that a Rabbi associated with MDA made comments that openly conflict with the Movement’s Fundamental Principles. Mr Geleta noted the commitment from the MDA to tackle this issue, and will remain attentive to seeing the National Society take appropriate action.
High on the agenda was MDA’s commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the Palestine Red Crescent Society when both were admitted to the IFRC. In a meeting with the government of Israel, Mr Geleta received assurance from the government that it will support MDA in its efforts to fully implement the MoU.
The Secretary General praised MDA for its innovation and professional service delivery. For example, MDA has created highly sophisticated software and logistics systems to ensure that its emergency medical systems are world-class. It also operates an ambulance network supplying approximately 95 per cent of emergency medical services and nearly 100 per cent of blood services throughout Israel.
Mr Geleta believes that further develolpment of MDA - which currently has 1,500 staff and 12,000 volunteers from diverse origins as well as a growing role in disaster preparedness and humanitarian services - would be significantly accelerated through strong partnerships. He stressed the importance and the potential of leveraging MDA’s auxiliary role to its government in order to scale up its ability to reach and support vulnerable populations in other parts of the world.
He also stressed the need to facilitate MDA’s engagement with the entire International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The experience and first-class expertise accumulated by MDA and a number of National Societies in the region and elsewhere could be integrated into accredited learning curricula in partnerships with academic institutions, and cooperation opportunities with the Red Cross Red Crescent, across the world.
“We hope to promote a deeper partnership by creating more opportunities for individuals from the IFRC and MDA to work directly together,” said Mr Bekele Geleta.