Four sisters–Yonat, Noa, Uriah and Shirel Daskal–all volunteered at Magen David Adom (MDA, Israel’s Emergency Medical Services) when they were teenagers. Yonat, the oldest, continued to work in the organization and became a senior paramedic. Her sisters went in other directions. However, when the Corona crisis came to Israel, all of the Daskal sisters returned to the national rescue organization, and stood together at the forefront of the fight against the virus.
Yonat Daskal (29) began her career with MDA as a youth volunteer. In the army she served as a paramedic, and immediately after discharge returned to work at MDA. Today, she works in the MDA Operations Division and continues to work as a paramedic in mobile intensive care ambulances. Since the crisis began, she has been responsible for MDA’s national telephone service hotline in Kiryat Ono.
“Our father is a historian and mother is a painter, but we have always been very interested in the world of medically caring for people,” Yonat said. “When the Corona crisis began I recognized the need for more workers and volunteers. I really wanted to bring my sisters back to us at MDA… Somehow, when I understood the magnitude of the crisis, I wanted them to be part of it, and stand with me and the other MDA members in a joint effort to protect public health and save lives.”
Noa Daskel (27) is a medical student at the Hebrew University. She had volunteered at MDA when she was a teenager. When she heard from her older sister, Yonat, that they were recruiting medical students to help carry out Corona virus testing, she immediately felt the need to come and help.
“After training, I started volunteering at the testing centers in the cities of Jerusalem, Modi’in and Elad. I have already tested hundreds of people,” Noa said. “Feeling that I can take an active part in the national fight against the Corona virus gives me great satisfaction, and I am very happy that I am doing this. The opportunity to do something important during such a difficult time has given me a lot. Besides doing the sample testing, I try to be as humane and empathetic as possible with those being tested for the virus. I feel that my sisters and I have a great privilege to participate in MDA activity in this epidemic. Our ability to share experiences and talk with each other, when we understand so well what the others are going through, helps us to overcome difficulties and continue to serve.”
Uriah Daskal (24), a social worker, also volunteered as a teenager at MDA. After completing her bachelor’s degree in social work at the Hebrew University, she has worked with at-risk youth. When the Corona crisis began, she started working at the MDA Corona telephone service hotline.
“I take tens of calls every day and deal with many cases of people who don’t feel well, and suspect that they are sick with Corona,” Uriah said. “A lot of people are scared and worried, and I try to do everything I can to calm them down and try to explain to them as much as possible. It is important for me to instill a sense that things are under control, and I have great satisfaction when a conversation ends calmer than it began. At the Sabbath table, my sisters and I talk only about MDA and Corona. So far my parents are not tired of hearing about it. They are very proud of us for serving.”
Shirel Daskal (21) served as a fighter and commander in the Artillery Corps. Before entering the army, she had volunteered at MDA, and upon release returned to the organization as a Corona paramedic.
“I had planned to go on a trip to South America after the army, but when the Corona global crisis began to gain momentum, I quickly understood that my plans would have to be cancelled,” Shirel said. “When Yonat asked us to volunteer and told us about the great pressure in MDA because of the Corona virus, I did not think twice and decided to go back to the organization where I volunteered in the past. The work in the telephone service center is very important. We receive calls from people in complicated situations, and we get to be the first to be there for them and try to help them in any way possible. In the midst of all the difficulty of these times, if there is one positive thing, it is working side by side with my older sisters. I believe that what we four are doing these days, we will remember decades from now, as a significant shared experience for the sake of the people of Israel.”