MDA UK raises £550,000 at record-breaking annual dinner

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

MDA UK raises £550,000 at record-breaking annual dinner

Warm tribute paid to the late Eli Benson - "No one cared more about MDA than that man" - at event compered by Judge Rob Rinder

Joe Millis is a journalist

Eli Benson (right) with an ambulance dedicated in his name
Eli Benson (right) with an ambulance dedicated in his name

The chairman of Magen David Adom UK has heaped warm praise on the organisation’s late vice-president Eli Benson, who passed away in September.

To warm applause at MDA UK’s annual dinner on Monday, David Curtis said: “Many of you have already remarked to me that it is with great sadness Eli Benson is not here. I want to say thank you to Eli, but he’s not here, however his family is.

“No one cared more about MDA than that man, and he achieved incredible things. So we will endeavour to commit to continuing with this cause which was so close to his heart.”

Mr Curtis also presented a Points of Light Award from Theresa May – “our current prime minister,” he quipped – to Norman Rosenbaum. “Norman, over his life has done an enormous amount for this organisation,” said Mr Curtis.

MDA UK said it was its largest-ever annual dinner with 414 people in attendance. The organisation added that over £550,000 was raised on the night taking the annual dinner campaign to £2.6 million. “We have now reached our target of 70 for 70 with 70 new medicycles on the roads of Israel,” it said.

Israeli ambassador Mark Regev told the audience: “Israel has thrived not just as our people’s national home, but as a beacon of prosperity and freedom in a very tumultuous region. And as friends of MDA, you can all be you can all be proud of your role in Israel’s story too.”

Israelis, he added, are healthier than ever before, and the country is a world-leader in pharmaceuticals, “and this is due, in no small part to a group of volunteers who met in Tel Aviv 80 years ago and set up the first MDA station”.

The event was compered by TV Judge Robert Rinder, who was seen in several promotional videos at MDA’s station in Eilat.

Judge Rinder said: “The shining beacon, and the example that I give that represents the neshama  and ruach – the soul and spirit – of Israel is Magen David Adom. MDA is the example that I use repeatedly when I seek to challenge the purpose and existence of the State of Israel: This is what I reply – Magen David Adom.”

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more: