Eurovision star Netta helps Hatzalah raise half-a-million pounds
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Eurovision star Netta helps Hatzalah raise half-a-million pounds

Israeli singer wows guests at charity's fundraising evening hosted by Miss Israel and Miss Iraq 2017

  • Netta at Hatzalah's dinner. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Netta at Hatzalah's dinner. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Sarah Idan _ Adar Gandelsman. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Sarah Idan _ Adar Gandelsman. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Mark Regev, Adar Gandelsman, Aida Dellal, Sarah Idan, li Beer, Ami Pomeranc. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Mark Regev, Adar Gandelsman, Aida Dellal, Sarah Idan, li Beer, Ami Pomeranc. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Emma Kingston. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Emma Kingston. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Michael  Terri Pomeranc. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Michael Terri Pomeranc. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • David, Ilana Metzger, Eli Beer, Isy Danon. Photo credit: Steve Winston
    David, Ilana Metzger, Eli Beer, Isy Danon. Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Photo credit: Steve Winston
  • Photo credit: Steve Winston
    Photo credit: Steve Winston

A party-like fundraising evening for United Hatzalah at Marylebone last week raised more than £500,000 for the emergency services volunteer group, as 500 people let their hair down in London.

The event, hosted by friends Miss Israel and Miss Iraq 2017, featured Israel’s Eurovision winner Netta, and its American organisers later said the new format shows the way forward for the British Jewish community.

“We created real energy,” said US-based organiser Ami Pomeranc. “We brought people specifically to make it a party vibe, an idea I’ve used in New York. I have a percentage who are donors and a percentage as the fun base. It works. We had people from age 23 to 60 there to have fun.”

He acknowledged that the American format was a break from the UK norm, “where everyone sits down at tables, all donors, all paying just £35 for tickets then weighing up whether to give,” but this can dull an occasion, he said.

“You need energy. Why make donating miserable? We took the risk but people loved the idea and enjoyed the vibe. They said ‘we’ve never had a Jewish fundraiser like this.’ It worked – we raised a lot of money for a great charity, more than we’d hoped for.”

The event featured as hosts Iraq’s Sarah Idan and Israel’s Adar Gandlesman, who met at the 2017 beauty pageant in Las Vegas and became friends, with Pomeranc acknowledging their involvement offered “the perfect message”.

After posting a selfie of the pair online, Idan and her family began receiving death threats and were forced to leave Iraq for their own protection. While she refused to remove the photo, she apologised if it had offended anyone, and later toured Israel in a visit welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two drew the media and a sell-out crowd, with the venue’s limited capacity leaving 200 wannabe attendees disappointed. “There were some complaints but they were things like obstructed viewing from the back, queues at the bar. If those were the only problems, it isn’t a problem! They even liked the kosher food!”

Armed with more experience, Pomeranc now has 2019 in his sights. “Next year we’re going to do it again, with a bigger venue, two bars and more VIP tables, but still bringing that party-vibe. People will remember this event and want to come next year. It’s for an amazing charity, better understood around the world than it is in Israel.”

Hatzalah’s 4,000 first responder volunteers attend medical emergencies in Israel and Jewish communities globally, often arriving before ambulances. Anyone can call on the service, whether Jewish or not. In May, London’s Hatzalah branch took receipt of its fourth ambulance, although many volunteers use private vehicles.

A party fundraiser for United Hatzalah of Israel at One Marylebone raised more than £500,000 for the emergency services…

Posted by The Jewish News on Friday, 2 November 2018

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