The US Embassy in Israel and the Institute of International Education (IIE) have awarded the Victor Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East to "United Hatzalah" President Eli Bir and Alian Murad, a Palestinian Arab from eastern Jerusalem, who have been working together to break the barriers between their two people.
Murad is the manager of the eastern Jerusalem sector for United Hatzalah, an Israeli first-responder and rescue service that operates primarily in the capital.
The two men received the award for establishing the eastern Jerusalem sector of United Hatzalah, which provides life-saving assistance to all residents of Jerusalem regardless of religion or race.
Upon receiving the prize, Bir and Murad stated: "Saving lives knows no borders. We do not differentiate based on religion or race. This is not a slogan, it is a way of life."
The Victor Goldberg prize is awarded annually to two people, one Jewish and the other Arab, who work together to promote peace in the region through joint activities aimed at bringing the two peoples closer together.
United Hatzalah has about 2,000 volunteers around the country who have normal jobs, but are ready to a moment's notice to provide emergency medical care as first responders, providing life-saving first aid until an ambulance can arrive at the scene.
The prize committee explained that the establishment of a United Hatzalah branch in eastern Jerusalem and the training of new Jewish and Arab volunteers to work the local neighborhoods had provided a much needed solution for first aid in the area.