Yad Sarah, a volunteer-staffed organization in Israel that provides home- and health-care aid, is seeing significant growth in two of its programs, including one aimed at safety in the Arab sector.

The car-safety initiative was started to address the disparity in death and injuries to Arab and Bedouin children stemming from auto accidents. Of the 22 children under the age of 10 killed in such accidents in Israel in the last 18 months, more than half were Arabs, while 45 percent of children severely injured in car accidents were also Arab.

“We cannot stand on the sidelines while so many children’s lives are lost and many more are severely injured,” said Moshe Cohen, director of Yad Sarah. “We are constantly aware of this problem, particularly within our branches that serve the Arab community. Now, in cooperation with the Road Safety Authority and local municipalities, we are working to raise awareness and save lives.”

As part of the program, Yad Sarah has loaned more than 200 car seats to Arab and Bedouin citizens of Israel. They have also provided educational materials and sessions on how to safely install the seats and other means of keeping children safe when riding in a vehicle.

Yam Ben-Yaish and his father, now fully recovered. Credit: Yad Sarah.

Nechama Leor-Drori, communications director for the Road Safety Authority, said the efforts that Yad Sarah and the authority are undertaking “enhance” children’s safety and help raise awareness in these communities.

The organization is also helping families at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Its Hospitality Center, which provides overnight accommodations in suite-like rooms, proved a vital resource in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when many hotels nearby were shuttered, leaving family members with no opportunity to be near sick relatives.

Among those who used the center, which includes an onsite synagogue, was Yam Ben-Yaish, an Israeli citizen living in Panama who traveled home after his father was diagnosed with a tumor. He ended up staying for more than a month, supporting his father’s recovery along the way.

“We began with four rooms and due to the increase in demand, we built more and more rooms,” said Rabbi Asher Benedict, director of the Hospitality Center. “Today, we have 25 guest rooms. … These pleasant accommodations allow families to spend time with patients in the best way possible.”


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