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

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