United Hatzalah EMT Yehiel Gurfein (right) and Moldovan Jewish volunteer. (United Hatzalah) (United Hatzalah)
United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah medics clandestinely deliver medical aid and training to Jews inside Ukraine.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Teams of United Hatzalah medics working in Moldova have made a number of small-scale covert visits to Ukraine to deliver vital medical and humanitarian supplies, the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

United Hatzalah, Israel’s volunteer emergency services organization dispatched medics to Moldova in Operation Orange Wings to assist Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war. The Hatzalah delegation was the first team of medical volunteers to reach the Ukrainian border after Russia’s February 24 invasion.

The delegation of more than 50 volunteers includes doctors, paramedics, psychotrauma responders, a dentist, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

The deliveries of food, medicine, trauma bandages and tourniquets were made to Jewish Ukrainians who stayed behind to protect Jewish property. Under emergency conscription measures, Ukrainian men ages 18-60 are barred from leaving the country.

In one of the missions, EMT Yehiel Gurfein, went with a Jewish Moldovan volunteer named Vladimir to deliver the medical supplies and teach the Ukrainian Jews how to use them. The Post explained that traveling from one Ukrainian Jewish community to another meant hours of driving and avoiding constant barrages in the distance.

According to the Post, while the two were in Ukraine, United Hatzalah workers in Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau received word that a family of Jews who had just arrived in Israel were facing bureaucratic problems because they had left certain documents behind in their Ukrainian home. Without the papers, the family faced the likelihood of deportation at the end of an Israeli grace period.

Yehiel and Vladimir coordinated with Ukrainian locals who were able to locate the abandoned home and retrieve the necessary papers. When Yehiel and Vladimir returned to Moldova, the documents were passed over to Hatzalah volunteers heading back to Israel on a flight with refugees.

“The undercover delivery of food and medical supplies to people inside Ukraine is of vital importance and saves lives,” said David Krispil, United Hatzalah’s commander of Operation Orange Wings.

Krispil added that a second covert mission was launched to deliver lifesaving medicine to a Ukrainian man in Odessa who had been without his medication for nearly two weeks. Krispil emphasized that the man would not have survived without the delivery.

“I am proud of Yehiel, Vladimir, and all the other members of our team who are undertaking these covert missions and helping to save lives each and every day inside Ukraine and on the borders. It is the least that we can do to mitigate the human tragedy of this war,” Krispil added.