Saving Lives in 90 Seconds, with United Hatzalah of Israel’s Eli Beer

With Eli BeerEP 149

If you have an idea of how to make an existing system much better and more efficient, but the people who run the system slam the door in your face, how can you manage to implement your ideas despite their resistance?

In this episode of the Let’s Talk Business Podcast, Eli Beer, the President and Founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, talks to Meny about the origins of his massive organization, why he needed to find a way around existing ambulance services, the reason that he chose not to be the CEO of his own organization, how he was able to grow United Hatzalah into the powerhouse that it is today, the proper way to retain volunteers, and much more. Don’t miss this inspiring, illuminating, and surprising conversation.


[00:01 – 07:34] Opening Segment

• Eli shares how he ended up creating the United Hatzalah of Israel

An independent nonprofit providing fast and free emergency medical first response
• How Eli had an idea to make an existing system more efficient but was met with resistance

Being inspired by a bomb attack he experienced as a young boy
[07:35 – 15:00] The Story of United Hatzalah

• The idea to respond to emergency calls with volunteers and motorcycles

How Eli built an underground emergency command center
• Volunteers are motivated by the satisfaction of saving someone rather than money

• The organization has responded to almost 6 million emergencies since it started

[15:01 – 22:14] Achieving a 90-Second Response Time

• The vision, challenges, and rewards of United Hatzalah

• United Hatzalah uses random people who want to be trained as volunteers

• Why CEOs should have an expiration date

• Run the organization like a sustainable business

[22:15 – 29:39] Treating Donors and Volunteers with Respect

• Treating donors and volunteers the same is vital to success

• Volunteers are obligated to respond to a minimum amount of emergency calls

• Donors get financial and operational transparency

• Leaders need to show compassion and empathy when dealing with traumatic situations

[29:40 – 36:48] The Incredible Story of United Hu Sela and its 600 Volunteers

• Volunteers go through treatments for emotional trauma

• Selling donations as a way to learn sales skills

Eli’s journey of lifesaving and inspiration
• Everyone should be involved in doing good in the world

[36:49 – 46:36] Closing Segment

• Overnight successes are often years in the making

• Why Eli realized he wanted United Hatzalah to be less dependent on him

• Eli on the apid for questions

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Practical Pointers
When you have a great idea and someone tells you no, be like an Israeli and have some chutzpah: don’t just go away, but instead figure out a new way to accomplish your goal. Sometimes the key is to work outside of the institution and create your own new reality.
Eli Beer knew that he was a visionary, but not a CEO - so he hired other people to do the jobs that weren’t right for him. If you want your company or organization to outlast you, know your own limitations and find the right people who can do certain jobs better than you.
Even the best leaders of charitable organizations should have an expiration date. If you want your organization to remain relevant, your CEO should not stay in that role permanently - and should already know that on his first day on the job.
Many charitable organizations make the mistake of prioritizing their donors over everyone else. It’s crucial to remember that volunteers are also donors, and very often are donating more through their time than a monetary donor ever will. By treating your volunteers with the same respect you treat your donors, you’re more likely to retain them, and will thereby enable your organization to run smoothly.
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Guest Bio
Person Image
Eli Beer

Eli Beer is a social entrepreneur and the President and Founder of United Hatzalah of Israel - an independent, non-profit, fully-volunteer emergency medical services organization that provides fast and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. United Hatzalah represents the partnership of Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Christian volunteers from all religious spectrums working together in order to save lives. Eli has been awarded numerous prizes and acknowledgments across the globe for innovative and lifesaving work.

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