United Hatzalah EMTs Safeguarding Competition Athletes by Land and Sea


Jerusalem, July 13th, 2017 —This week saw the 20th Maccabiah Games bring thousands of athletes and tourists from all over the Jewish world to Israel to achieve feats of excellence. Among the many sporting competitions was the rowing competition in the Sea of Galilee. United Hatzalah’s maritime unit, together with the police maritime unit, provided EMS and rescue coverage ensuring the safety of the rowers prior to and during the competition. This is the first time that the competition is being held in the Sea of Galilee, whereas in previous Maccabiah games, the rowing competition took place in the Yarkon river on the northern outskirts of Tel Aviv.

Competitors from the United States, Russia, England, France, Germany, Australia, Argentina, and Israel competed for gold in this year’s rowing competition, which is being counted as an official event by the World Rowing Federation (FISA).

Volunteer EMTs, paramedics and doctors from United Hatzalah took on the responsibility of providing EMS care to all participants and spectators at the rowing competition this year, both by land and sea. The organization’s ambuboat, which carries a similar complement of EMS systems as does an ambulance, together with the organization’s fleet of jet skis, will provide that care by sea. Ambucycle drivers, all of whom are trained EMS first responders, will be providing EMS care by land surrounding the competition area and will provide medical first response to any emergencies that take place in their vicinity.

Eitan Oved, Head of Israel’s National Rowing Federation said, “The expert level of service and care that the Tevaria chapter head of United Hatzalah, Yossi Vaknin, together with spokesperson and EMT Aharon Ovadia, and other volunteers of the organization have provided for us has been all encompassing and outstanding. They have provided EMS support for our aquatic sports division, the Israel national championships, the water marathon on the sea, and for the Sea of Galilee championships.”

Oved continued, “We have a tremendous working relationship which springs from mutual cooperation in the area that I have been overseeing for some time now, and one that benefits both of our organizations. The care and attention that they pay to detail distinguishes them and helps them rise above and beyond all other similar EMS organizations. Their style of giving means they give everything to help others, their hearts and their souls.”

Yossi Vaknin, chapter head of United Hatzalah Tevaria and Sea of Galilee branch, as well as the captain of United Hatzalah’s ambuboat also spoke about the partnership between the organizations and safeguarding the Maccabiah games.

“The Maccabiah games are one of the most prestigious sporting events in Israel in the field of water sports and in general. This week began the water competitions of the games which saw academic students from Israel and around the world come to the Sea of Galilee to compete against each other. Our medical response and rescue ambuboat together with the Tevaria and Kineret team of jet skis and EMS volunteers provided coverage and logistical support to the athletes, judges and all others involved in the competitions,” Vaknin said.

The event is the most recent sporting event in which the ambuboat has provided EMS coverage and logistical support to competitors, helping to safeguard athletes, coaches, judges, and spectators on the sea. “By working closely together with Eitan Oved, the director of Israel’s Rowing Federation, we are able to provide emergency medical support to all who need it during these competitions. All of our care is offered free of charge and done by volunteers. We wish all competitors much success in their competitions and continued health throughout their careers and beyond,” he concluded.

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