By Stephen E. Lipken
Westchester County Legislator Ben Boykin, Chairman, Public Safety and Social Services Committee, hosted Yoni Yagodovsky, Director of International Relations for Magen David Adom (Israel’s Red Cross), brought to the Board of Legislators meeting by Haina Just-Michael, Local Leader, American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) in Westchester County on Monday, February 8.
According to Just-Michael, Yagodovsky is traveling around the US on a fund raising tour and she invited him to appear to educate the community about MDA’s life-saving procedures.
Legislators present at the meeting included Majority Leader Catherine Borgia; Boykin; Minority Whip Gordon Burrows; Francis T. Corcoran; Margaret Cunzio; Board Chair Michael Kaplowitz; Sheila Marcotte; Catherine Parker; Mary Jane Shimsky; John Testa and Alfreda Williams. Area First Responders also attended.
“MDA was established in Europe at the end of World War I to help Jewish refugees. It disappeared then was revived by Jewish doctor and nurse activists in Tel Aviv in 1930.
All of our ambulances and life-saving equipment come from donations.
“We run Israel’s national blood services. We have 30,000 volunteers out of Israel’s population of 8.34 million and respond to 2,000 emergencies each day. Israel is a small society but unique in that we have rare blood groups from people coming to Israel from all over the world. We need to collect 1300 units of blood per day. MDA trains and certifies all Israel Defense Force Paramedics,” Yagodovsky said.
Yagodovsky emphasized that MDA extends beyond medical care, providing humanitarian relief for homeless illegal African immigrants and pre-fabricated housing northwest of Katmandu, Nepal where 90% of the buildings disappeared in the earthquake.
“We are seeing an increase in mental health crimes,” Burrows noted, “how about in Israel?”
“There are family domestic problems caused by economical stress and psychological sickness. We are also seeing public violence, violence between teenagers and different parts of society, part of an escalation of violence in Israel affecting others,” Yagodovsky replied.
Citing the National Incident Management System (NIMS), Corcoran inquired if there was a chain of command in emergency situations.
“In Israel we focus on lifesaving, not security. We work within chaos and not let chaos lead us,” Yagodovsky stressed.
Before adjourning the meeting, Boykin thanked Yagodovsky and said it was an outstanding presentation.