By Abigail Klein Leichman

Peace prize for Jewish and Muslim leaders


When Jerusalem resident Eli Beer implemented a neighborhood-based volunteer emergency response system to Israel in 2006, he wasn’t dreaming of prizes, only of saving lives.

But in recognition of the fact that United Hatzalah of Israel has brought together some 2,100 trained volunteers from every sector of Israeli society to respond to medical emergencies in Arab and Jewish neighborhoods without discrimination, Beer and Arab-Israeli United Hatzalah-East Jerusalem leader Murad Alyan were chosen to receive the 2013 Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East from the New York-based Institute of International Education.

The award, which includes a $10,000 prize that the men intend to donate to their organization, was presented during a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy’s American Center in Jerusalem.

The close friendship between Beer, a religious Jew working in real estate, and Alyan, a religious Muslim working as a registered nurse and medical translator, began in 2007 when Alyan approached Beer about extending United Hatzalah’s neighborhood-based services to largely Arab East Jerusalem. He recruited the first 34 volunteers for the unit, and now oversees more than 100.

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