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Israel: Underground Blood Bank Will Be Protected From Danger of Attack

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Rockets flying over Israel is a frightening scene. Thus far the rockets and missiles that have hit Israel from Iraq, Lebanon and recently from Gaza did not do extensive damage, but they can and probably will one day.

Magen David Adom (MDA) provides a rapid and skilled emergency medical response, including disaster, ambulance, and blood services to Israel's 7.8 million people. It is responsible for 100% of the blood supply for the IDF and for 90% of the blood supply for the nation.

Rockets From Gaza

The blood bank of MDA is located in the Dan region. The Gazan rockets already proved to be able to reach Tel Aviv and thus put the blood bank in great danger.

This week, at the lovely home in Beverly Hills, of the hospitable Shahin and Isaac Eshaghpour, American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) hosted, Professor Eilat Shinar, Magen David Adom (MDA) Blood Bank Director and Advisor to Israel's Ministry of Health.

From R Yossi Mentz USA Regional Director Host Mr. Eshaghpour Dr. Shinar Host Mrs. Eshaghpour Farhad Eshaghpour and Heather Huttema Dina Leeds AFMDABoard Member Barak Raviv President Photo Orly Halevy
From R-Yossi Mentz, USA Regional Director, Host Mr. Eshaghpour, Dr. Shinar, Host Mrs. Eshaghpour, Farhad Eshaghpour and Heather Huttema, Dina Leeds, AFMDABoard Member, Barak Raviv, President
Photo: Orly Halevy

In 1950, the government of Israel mandated MDA, a non-profit organization, to serve as the nations' emergency medical response organization but it is not funded by the government, instead it is relying on funds from donors around the world.

Dr. Shinar's message, to a room full of audience, that included, Barak, Raviv, President, Yossi Mentz Western USA Regional Director and Hope Zeitz, Development Director, was clear: the last war with Gaza - Operation Pillar of Cloud that took place in November 2012 - has proved beyond all doubt that the impressive blood bank center, built by donors from the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa must go underground in order to uninterruptedly serve the nation in time of war or other possible disaster that country may experience. After all Israel is not only a constant war zone, it is also an earthquake prone.

Blood Bank Run Mostly By Women

The blood bank of Israel is run, mostly by women. Dr. Shinar, a 2nd generation Sabra (Born in Israel). She left a career with Hadassah Medical Center, Hematology Division, to join MDA, and has been working at it for 25 years; since 1997 she has been its director. She carries on her shoulders the responsibility for the supply of blood for the entire country.

The target of the blood bank is to collect 1,400 blood units per day that cover the needs of the country, to include emergency instances.

The current blood bank is all hi-tech, geared to test, process and sort the blood units that arrive daily and then distribute it to hospitals. The center also collects cord blood from after birth placenta for stem cell purposes. This project has much to do with Jews being a minority and since in health one has to deal with ethnicity, in many cases a bone marrow match is impossible to find but among one's own.

So what keeps Dr. Shinar wake at night? The rockets that may one day hit the blood bank center. The laboratories and the equipment must be in a safe structure and that one is best to be underground, while the current business will remain as an alternative center. The new center will be of conventional and non conventional green, state of the art hi-tech.

The Backup Plan

If all else goes wrong in Israel and Israel is not able to collect blood, Dr. Shinar has managed to secure the first ever for Israel contingency agreement with American Blood Center (ABC) whereby, upon the call, they will ship blood to Israel from their own bank.

Magen David Adom's urging project, the new underground blood bank center, for which the grounds have been already secured in the town of Ramleh, will cost $80 million and then some to build. This project, when completed, will be Dr. Shinar's legacy. Remember, MDA lives on philanthropic contributions. Please join in the effort; after all your support for MDA simply saves lives.

To get a better understanding of what could happen to the central blood bank of Israel please watch:

Nurit Greenger sees Israel and the United States equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom and since 2006, has been writing about events in these two countries. Contact her by writing to nurit.4.nuritg@gmail.com Read more stories by Nurit Greenger.

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