American Friends of Magen David Adom |


Magen David Adom does whatever it takes to save lives in Israel. And now that includes building something the world has never seen. MDAs new blood storage, processing and distribution facility — the Marcus National Blood Services Center — will be the worlds first subterranean blood bank

Ella Lavon
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At a cost of $130 million, MDA is looking for supporters to help build the new blood center because, contrary to popular belief, MDA does not receive Israeli government funding for its day-to-day operations. And blood is critical to the health of the nation; MDA provides 100 percent of the blood to the Israel Defense Forces and 97 percent to Israels hospitals.

The new Marcus National Blood Services Center

The need for a new center is acute. The current building in Tel HaShomer was built in 1985 and is dangerously vulnerable to attack. As MDA learned in 2014, rockets fired from Gaza during Israels conflict with Hamas forced MDA to quickly move the countrys blood supply and its blood-processing operations into bomb shelters.

A project necessitated by Israels increasing vulnerability

Now, nowhere in Israel is immune from rocket attack, MDA Director-General Eli Bin says, So we had to rethink how we can protect the nations blood supply.

The current facility also no longer accommodates Israels growing population, which has grown from 4.1 million people in the late 1980s to 8.6 million today. Israels population is expected to reach 10 million by 2030.

The current building is also problematic in that it doesnt meet Israels current codes for earthquake compliance, a challenge in a country that sits on two active seismic fault lines, a real and imminent danger thats been overshadowed by the wars and terrorist attacks Israelis have had to endure.

MDA provides 100% of the blood to the IDF and 97% to Israel’s hospitals

The new blood center will be a safe, underground, and secure complex, complete with sophisticated ventilation systems in the event of chemical attacks, but also housing state-of-the-art laboratories and blood-processing units. And as Israelis continued dealing with a deadly wave of terrorist stabbings, shootings, and car-rammings, the need for a clean and reliable blood supply has only been reinforced.

Despite largest grant ever, MDA still needs to raise more funds

Thankfully, the new project received a major push in March 2016 when, amid an ongoing wave of terror in Israel, MDA received a $25 million gift from the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation to help build the facility. The historic grant is the largest-ever benefitting MDA. We are overwhelmingly indebted to The Marcus Foundation for its remarkable generosity, said David M. Frankel, CEO of American Friends of Magen David Adom. It speaks to MDAs critical role in Israel as one of the countrys most important national organizations.

All told, through the generosity of other donors, slightly more than half the necessary funds have been raised, but the project still needs tens of millions of dollars more.

A groundbreaking ceremony last November highlighted the need for donors around the world to help support the project. Scores of dignitaries spoke about the importance of blood to the health of the nation. Laying the cornerstone for the new Marcus National Blood Services Center is more than an important day for MDA and the State of Israel — it is a dream come true, MDA Director-General Bin told guests at the event. It is a defining moment and a historical day that we get to experience thanks to the generous donations of AFMDA, led by the Marcus Foundation.

In the U.S. embassy we know there is no organization in the State of Israel that does more than MDA to save lives by bringing together world-class healthcare, blood experts, and medical professionals, said U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. May you always continue to serve, always continue to succeed, and continue your lifesaving work.

Although Israelis have benefited from the countrys early-warning system and cutting-edge Iron Dome missile batteries, which literally shoot many incoming rockets out of the sky, these methods are by no means foolproof. Whether its from war, terrorism, or natural disaster, we know there will come a day when our blood supply will play a critical role in saving thousands of lives, beyond the thousands of lives our blood saves in everyday medical emergencies, such as bypass surgery or treating victims of car accidents, MDA Director of Blood Services Professor Eilat Shinar said. No matter what the need, however, we need to be ready, and that begins with protecting our blood supply.

To learn more about the Marcus National Blood Services Center or to support this lifesaving project or other Magen David Adom initiatives, contact American Friends of Magen David Adom at or +1 (212) 757-1627.