Their big­gest gift is blood

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

GAP YEAR stu­dents in Is­rael gave a cru­cial Mitz­vah Day do­na­tion — their blood.

The 37 teenagers who do­nated blood at Magen David Adom’s Jerusalem head­quar­ters last Fri­day were the first from Bri­tain since the “mad cow dis­ease” out­break in the 1990s. Is­rael is now ac­cept­ing blood from Britons born in 1997.

“I feel like we are making history,” said Dalia Her­szaft from Edg­ware, who is on a Bnei Akiva scheme. “Hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to do it is amaz­ing.”

The need for do­na­tions had been made more per­sonal by the death of an Amer­i­can gap-year stu­dent, Ezra Schwartz, in a terror at­tack on the West Bank the pre­vi­ous day.

“He went to the yeshivah my cousin went to last year and a lot of the girls in my sem went to his school, or had gone to camp with him,” she ex­plained. “There were hun­dreds of girls in tears.”

Fel­low donor Adam El­lis said that “to know that it is peo­ple my age get­ting hurt and that [my blood] might have a pos­i­tive im­pact is a great feel­ing”.

Bri­tish Am­bas­sador David Quar­rey was on hand to sup­port the donors, telling them: “I’m a big fan of Mitz­vah

The young donors with David Quar­rey and MDA UK’s Daniel Burger Day and I think it is a great ex­am­ple of vol­un­teer­ing spirit. I am also a big fan of MDA and am al­ways very proud when I see one of the vans come past with a UK friends’ ded­i­ca­tion.

“They do amaz­ing work across Is­rael and, un­for­tu­nately, we saw yes­ter­day why it is so nec­es­sary that you are giv­ing blood.”

The young Britons were also thanked by MDA head of blood ser­vices, Pro­fes­sor Ei­lat Shi­nar, who said: “Blood do­na­tion is im­por­tant be­cause we can­not make blood. We rely on the kind­ness of oth­ers to give.

“This group is the first Bri­tish group since 1997 that can give blood in Is­rael and we are very happy to have them here. It is saving not one life but three — each do­na­tion has three com­po­nents that can go to three dif­fer­ent pa­tients.

“I hope it be­comes part of the gap year ex­pe­ri­ence.”

MDA UK chief ex­ec­u­tive, Daniel Burger, stressed the im­por­tance of the ses­sion.

“For the first time in a very long time, they can make a real dif­fer­ence in help­ing MDA to save lives in Is­rael.

“This comes at a time when MDA and our blood ser­vices have been pushed to the limit be­cause of in­creased at­tacks.”

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