Nov 20, 2014

Hatzalah Bet Shemesh unemploys its Shabbos goy ambulance driver

Hatzalah Bet Shemesh put out an important notice.

It reads:
Due to the current security situation in Jerusalem, we have been advised by our Rabbonim that we will not be using our Shabbos goy this week.
Therefore, due to an issue of Techum Shabbos, should you believe that there will be a need for you to go to the hospital on Shabbos, you should prepare any items you plan on taking with you to the hospital before Shabbos, and making them hefker.

The "hefker" issue seems like a loophole innovation. Make your stuff hefker, privately of course so nobody else should claim your stuff, take it with you, then reclaim it when you arrive in Jerusalem?

Regarding the main point, it might perhaps be time to start training other non-Jews, besides for Arabs, to be ambulance drivers. Then they would be able to continue employing the non-Jewish driver while not compromising security.

I guess we will see how long this lasts for. Is there a purpose in getting rid of him for one week? Maybe that assumes things will calm down quickly. If not, I imagine this announcement will be extended until the situation does calm down.

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  1. Why is there not a Jewish driver?

  2. a preference for shabbos reasons, to have a goy drive rather than a jew. this is only preferential if there wont be delays because of it or security issues

  3. Why the need for a non-jewish ambulance driver for shabbos? Here in America, all the very frum and very yeshivish people drive their hatzalah cars and ambulances on shabbos and carry their hatzalah walkie-talkies even without an eruv.
    What is the consensus halachic opinion? Is the Israeli way just following a minority halachic opinion?
    I wonder what happens in other countries like Canada, England, or other places in Europe with hatzalah? Any ideas?
    By the way - this is my favorite blog! Keep up the good work!

    1. sorry for the confusion - regular "Avi" is not the "Avi" in the first comment.

  4. thanks.
    as mentioned, and I'll expand, though I have no connection to hatzalah and am not their spokeman, so my info might not be accurate or up to daye.

    hatzala will use jewish drivers when necessary, and has done so in the ast and used to do so in the days before they found a non-jewish driver. Halachically their rabbinic counsel preffers a non-jewish driver to alleviate some halachic issues, so they employ one.
    I remember a time when they were short on funding and said they'd have to stop employing the non-jew unless funding would come in. that means jews would become the drivers.

    basically, jews can drive, but they prefer non-jews doing that when possible.

    why they do what they do in the US, I dont know. maybe their rabbinic counsel paskens differently, maybe they have different concerns, maybe they cant find any goyim available in brooklyn. I dont know

    1. Strange, I thought it a great mitzvah to save a life.

  5. 1. The driver can also do things for non life threatening issues
    2. The driver comes into the hospital with you and fills out any paperwork
    3. There is always a Jewish paramedic in the ambulance

  6. If only employing non-Jews drivers, why not employ one of those 'foreign workers' in Israel, there are plenty of them?

  7. Hatzala in London has a non-Jewish driver for Shabbos. The paramedics are all Jewish.

  8. Different hatzalahs / poskim in america vaccillate between different opinions from year to year on this issue, and not for financial reasons. (Or perhaps they're changing poskim from year to year?)

    (Can't they find a trusted arab, or is there a public demand for no arabs?)

  9. right now there is a public demand for no arabs. anyway, if people wont use them because they have an arab driver and that makes the person nervous to use them, then nothing is gained by employing the arab driver.

  10. A Non-Jew is needed for those things that a Jew would NOT be allowed to do on Shabbos even as a Doctor.

    See examples in "Halachos of Refuah on Shabbos" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner and
    Rabbi Daniel B. Roth MD, an example might be be an Ailment that may be uncomfortable and
    even painful but not incapacitating nor life threatening, in any way. In such a case a Jew would
    certainly NOT be allowed to drive this patient to the hospital, but a Non-Jewish driver with a Jewish Medic
    can! There are many more examples


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