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Women only Hatzalah unit to open in Jerusalem

By Mason White 2:31 PM June 28, 2013
Female paramedic illustration 

By: Eva Fett
Some ultra-Orthodox Jewish women, who feel uncomfortable being treated by male emergency workers, will soon be able to call the all female Hatzalah unit in Jerusalem.

A group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in Jerusalem completed a first aid course in order to meet the needs of women giving birth, who feel uncomfortable being treated by male paramedics for reasons of modesty.

The group of women, who recently completed the course, decided to launch a course for a group of fifty ultra-Orthodox Jewish women, to study, free of charge, how to attend to women giving birth on the way to the hospital.

In recent years, as a result of the growing number of voluntary rescue organizations, male paramedics are being called to attend to women giving birth. The situation has created confusion in ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector, which has strict rules of modesty, since most volunteers know the women they are helping.

The women, who trained as paramedics in the new course, will have to be on call once every two weeks, and will have the task of escorting women in an ambulance to the hospital.

Racheli Bamberger, one of the founders of the movement, said that the unit is seeking older women, since they are able to be on call for longer shifts than younger women.

The organizers are trying to secure funding for courses, and they are trying to reach an agreement with the Magen David Adom to replaced male paramedics with the new female unit in some situations.