As tension in the Middle East continues to hold attention across the world, the need remains ever present. Up to 1.9 million people in Gaza, nearly 85% of the population, are facing internal displacement. Almost all have lost loved ones, their homes and belongings. In April of this year, thousands of Palestinians attempted to return to their homes in north Gaza since evacuating last October.

Through longstanding church partnerships, Samaritan’s Purse is among the few organisations able to reach Palestinian communities in Gaza to provide food and medical supplies. In the West Bank, our teams have been able to financially support and oversee medical clinics that have been overwhelmed by people displaced by conflict.

Magen David Adom (MDA) provides first aid and emergency medical services as well as blood donation services to all hospitals in Israel. The organisation mobilises over 30,000 medical volunteers via a wide array of emergency vehicles to respond to any crisis. Their teams administer to all who live in the state of Israel, regardless of religion, ethnicity or race.

The weekend of 7 October was supposed to be a celebration for Jewish communities observing Simchath Torah. Instead it will forever be marred by Hamas terror attacks that took the nation by surprise. However, due to the proposed festivities, MDA had been on heightened alert and immediately shifted to respond to the unfolding crisis.

“When an emergency occurs,” says Uri Shacham, Director General’s Office Chief of Staff at MDA, “everyone runs to their tasks ready to save lives. It’s in our DNA.”

As a result of their quick response, thousands of medical staff were deployed to answer the flood of emergency calls for assistance in the wake of the attacks.

Rushing towards disaster, MDA personnel themselves became targets of violence. Harrowing stories from MDA first responders would emerge as Hamas militants—disguised as Israeli Defence Force (IDF) personnel­—coordinated attacks throughout Israel. Tragically, 19 medics were killed, contributing to the nearly 1,200 lives which were cut short on 7 October. Amid the destruction, 14 ambulances were destroyed during the unfolding state of emergency.

“[They] went for the ambulances. They wanted to destroy them so that the MDA people wouldn’t be able to protect the lives of the injured,” Uri said.

Immediately after the attacks, Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham visited Israel to witness the devastation. There he pledged 14 new ambulances and an additional 8 ambulances equipped with armour plating to better respond during times of conflict.

Our dedication ceremony was within walking distance of the places where our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected, and where He taught a lesson that seemed to speak for these medics: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Each ambulance bears one of their names, plus Scripture in English on one side and Hebrew on the other. Many of the verses are comforting Psalms written by King David, which is appropriate since Magen David Adom literally means the “Red Star of David.”

One bereaved father at the ceremony told us he had lost “the one dearest to me in the entire world” when his 19-year-old daughter Lior was killed. “She was full of compassion, with a big heart. Helping others and saving lives were always in the front of her eyes.” He described the ambulances as “a symbol of life, courage, and hope. Every time one of these ambulances goes on a mission, it will be like Lior and her friends are still helping and saving lives.”

As these ambulances are now in use and rushing toward danger, continue to pray for those impacted by this ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Pray for peace in the region and for the work of Samaritan’s Purse as we continue to come alongside hurting people.

Support our Israel Response

Samaritan’s Purse is helping meet the physical and spiritual needs of people on both sides of the Israel-Hamas war. In partnership with local churches and ministry partners, we are bringing urgently needed relief to communities deeply impacted by the conflict.