Magen David Adom provides emergency medical services and education to Israel and continues to work on an underground blood bank.

Featured photo courtesy of Friends of MDA

Magen David Adom (MDA) is a non-governmental organization established by the Knesset in 1950 and responsible for providing emergency medical services and educating and training the public for life-saving activities in Israel. It acts as the civilian arm of the IDF in times of war. It also is responsible for the country’s blood-banking.

Israel falls short of World Health Organization (WHO) standards for its blood supplies. It has on hand a supply sufficient for only 3 percent of its population, or a stock of some 260,000 units instead of the 350,000 or 400,000 it should have, by WHO standards.

Currently, that blood is being processed and stored at a facility in Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center that is unprotected from missiles, biological and chemical attacks and earthquakes. Built in the 1980s, the complex was designed to serve a population of 5 million. Today, Israel’s population is 9 million and growing.

A new MDA blood banking facility is under construction in the city of Ramle. It will be the world’s first underground protected blood bank, equipped with the latest technology and able to hold more blood. The $130 million project is being funded mostly by American Friends of Magen David Adom, which has already raised $100 million.

Moshe Noyovich, a senior Israel representative of the American Friends of Magen David Adom who also oversees the project, was recently in Michigan to help raise the remaining $30 million. “It will be a state-of-the-art complex,” he said. “No blood center in the world will be as shielded as ours.” He expects the project to be completed in early 2021.

MDA workers at the blood bank in Ramat Gan Courtesy of Friends of MDA

The nearly 6-acre facility in Ramle, 20 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, will consist of six floors, an adjacent MDA logistics center, and parking spaces for bloodmobiles, ambulances and donors. The top three floors will hold rooms for blood donations, a training center and the facility’s administrative center. The lower three floors will be underground, where blood will be stored and processed. Those floors will be protected by special shielding to specifications from the Home Front Command and the National Security Agency and safe from missile attacks, biological and chemical attacks and earthquakes.

Noyovich said the facility will be able to produce 500,000 units of blood annually, which will meet WHO standards. It will be able to produce and process 2,200 blood units daily (up to 3,500 units in an emergency situation), compared to the current 1,100 units produced daily. The staff size will more than double from 184 to 374 employees.

There will be a special shielded storage space for a strategic supply of blood, the minimum necessary for emergencies, such as natural disasters, wars or other catastrophic events, Noyovich added.

The project is being done without any funding from the government, although MDA was able to get the land at no cost. “It took more than two years, but it happened,” Noyovich said. “The blood bank will be in the center of the country with proximity to three main highways, trains, a helipad and two electricity supplies.”

American Friends of Magen David Adom took it upon themselves to raise money for the project’s construction.

Noyavich says the Detroit Jewish community has always been staunch supporters of MDA. “I know many people who are very devoted, very dedicated to the needs of Israel. It’s one of the most dedicated communities there is.

“This is an amazing megaproject and it’s not that far away from being completed. Two years will be here before you know it,” Noyovich said.

Donate to Friends of MDA at afmda.org

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