United Hatzalah and Claims Conference launch initiative to vaccinate homebound Holocaust survivors in Israel
The survivors will be transported by United Hatzalah ambulances and medical teams and receive care throughout the process as needed; Some 20,000 Holocaust survivors to be assisted
By ILANIT CHERNICK
United Hatzalah of Israel together with the Claims Conference has launched a national initiative to vaccinate 20,000 homebound Holocaust survivors in Israel against coronavirus.
The survivors will be transported by United Hatzalah ambulances and medical teams and receive care throughout the process as needed.
Part of the project includes the opening of a new dispatch center aimed at contacting each of the survivors and arranging special transport to take them to and from their local or regional vaccination center.
“The transporting ambulance team will wait with the survivors at the center during the time that is needed for them to receive their vaccine and the waiting period afterward,” the organizations said in joint statement. “The Claims Conference in Israel has invested some 5,000,000 NIS in the project that will pay for all of the logistics involved in providing these transports for homebound Holocaust survivors.”
Vice President of the Claims Conference in Israel Shlomo Gur praised the initiative, stressing that being able to give Holocaust survivors “the ability to return to their daily and social routines is of the utmost importance for us.”
“Together with United Hatzalah, an organization whose operational abilities are top-notch, we will be able to bring each and every one of the homebound survivors in need of assistance, to receive their vaccine,” he said.
Gur emphasized that following their vaccinations, they will be able to reunite with family members, friends, and caretakers.
“We know that this past year has been incredibly difficult for all of the survivors, and we will do everything in our power to put an end to the social distancing for those who suffered through the travesties of the Holocaust,” he added.
According to Gur, the Claims Conference, which represents the world’s Jews in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs, “understands that during the Corona-era, problems have arisen, both with regard to the physical health of Holocaust survivors, and with regard to their mental health.”
As a result, he said, the organization’s leadership decided to do everything in its power “to bring a regular style of living back to the survivors as quickly as possible, so that they can return to their regular, pre-coronavirus, social routines.”
As part of the project, 10 United Hatzalah dispatch operators will be staffing the new dispatching center, built by the organization, and after making contact with each survivor, the dispatchers will then arrange for all of the logistics of the vaccination and the transport. The newly established dispatch center will be active from 8 am until 8 pm daily.
“The joint operation between the two organizations aims at reaching every single survivor that is unable to physically arrive at the vaccination centers to receive the vaccine and assist them both in arriving at the center and in speeding up the process.
For Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah, this is a proud undertaking.
“We are proud to have partnered with the Claims Conference to provide this vital service for the homebound Holocaust survivors living in Israel,” he said. “This project fits well with our Ten Kavod project wherein our volunteers visit the elderly, including Holocaust survivors, on a weekly basis to help them maintain their health and combat sensations of loneliness.”
Beer made it clear that everyone “must make every effort to help those who cannot help themselves and assist them in maintaining as healthy a lifestyle as possible.”
Concluding, Beer said that we owe it to those who survived “the greatest atrocity that mankind has ever known to provide whatever care and service for them that we can to make their lives a little bit easier. It is a mission that we are proud to undertake.”