President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 12 March / 16 Adar, inaugurated the new national emergency call center jointly run by Magen David Adom (MDA) and the IDF Homefront Command in Ramle as part of the efforts to deal with the Coronavirus. The president was briefed on the role of MDA in dealing with the virus, how it is organized and the challenges it faces. The president was escorted on the visit by Eli Bean, CEO of MDA and by GOC IDF Homefront Command Maj Gen Tamir Yadai.
The center is a joint initiative
of MDA and IDF that adds 100 phone positions to help ensure that the best possible response is given to the thousands of calls made to MDA each day on the 101 emergency line since the Coronavirus reached Israel.
At the beginning of his remarks, the president said, “Israelis, like people around the world, are battling a plague that is hitting all humanity. Of course, in Israel we are protected by Magen David Adom and the IDF, the people’s shield and the people’s army. It’s only natural that these forces join together as they do whenever we are at risk.
Everyone has faith in you and knows that they can do so. We must listen to the instructions. Often, we are a little dismissive of instructions or we think ‘they are very important for other people, but not for us.’ We must strictly follow all the instructions we have been given because they have been properly and carefully thought through to prevent any danger to us all. I came here to thank you – and I thank you.”
The president talked to the phone operators, saying
“You are used to being on the front line. Used to being first to arrive at any emergency that crops up. And with this unique threat, too, you are on the front line. You are the first link in the chain of treating those who need testing. This is a critical stage in containing the outbreak of the virus. It also requires precise information and diagnosis.”
CEO of MDA, Eli Bean: “Welcome, Mr. President and thank you to GOC IDF Homefront Command. Yesterday, we were sitting in a meeting and already this morning we are up and running. We set up this 101 call center so that Israelis can get responses to questions about corona. The pressure on the MDA call center is unbelievable. We have separated the centers that deal with ambulances and emergency treatment from where people call to about corona.
We agreed with the IDF that, if necessary, we will enlarge this call center. At the moment, we are opening around another 100 lines for calls to 101 about corona. We set this call center up in the space of 12 hours and I have to tell you that we see this as a national mission that was given to us by the Ministry of Health and the State of Israel, and that we are doing everything possible to limit the extent of infection on one hand, and to reduce the level of public concern and to give people answers. We are prepared for extreme scenarios.
People and the State of Israel need to understand this is a long process. These are the instructions of the Ministry of Health and also the scenarios we built with the GOC Homefront Command yesterday. We met for several hours so that if necessary, heaven forbid, we will expand this and, of course, the IDF will be part of the process and take command.”
Attached photo credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)