Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has played a pivotal role in a significant fundraising effort for Israel’s emergency medical service, leading to an $88 million donation. This sum includes Bloomberg’s contribution of $44 million, which he pledged to match the amount raised by other donors. This gesture comes in the wake of an attack by Hamas, resulting in significant Israeli and American casualties.
On October 9, just two days after the attack, Bloomberg launched a fundraising campaign, pledging to match donations to Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, until October 20. This campaign aimed to support the organization’s critical lifesaving work. Bloomberg’s donation and the matched funds have amounted to the most significant gift in the organization’s history.
In a statement, Bloomberg emphasized the solidarity between America and Israel, expressing his encouragement by the widespread support for Israel during this challenging period. He highlighted the importance of demonstrating unity in condemning Hamas and ensuring the health and safety of Israelis.
Catherine Reed, the chief executive of American Friends of Magen David Adom, reported that nearly 34,000 donors contributed to this effort. The funds are earmarked for purchasing ambulances, medical equipment, and protective gear for emergency responders, including ballistic helmets and vests.
The American Friends of Magen David Adom, founded in 1940, has been instrumental in raising funds in the U.S. to support MDA with medical supplies and blood services. The MDA itself was established by Israeli doctors in 1930 during the British Mandate to offer first-aid services amidst anti-Jewish violence. It evolved from local medical facilities in major Israeli cities to a national emergency organization in 1935 and post-Israel’s independence in 1948, it became the official Red Cross Society, providing comprehensive emergency medical services.
Bloomberg, who has supported MDA since the 1990s, also mentioned a personal connection to the organization: in 2011, he helped dedicate a state-of-the-art emergency medical service station in Jerusalem, named in honor of his father, William. This facility includes a modern blood donation center, marking a special moment for Bloomberg’s family and his longstanding commitment to supporting MDA.