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      Hareidi Religious Jews and Arabs Unite to Teach Safety

      The hareidi religious Jewish ZAKA group has united with the "Kulanana" organization to teach Israeli Arab women about home safety.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 12/16/2011, 1:11 AM

      ZAKA Founder Rabbi Yehuda Meshi Zahav at course in Kfar Qassem with Kulanana group
      ZAKA Founder Rabbi Yehuda Meshi Zahav at course in Kfar Qassem with Kulanana group
      Boaz Bar Nir

      The spurious claims of "apartheid" were again laid to rest this week as volunteers from the hareidi religious ZAKA organization teamed up with "Kulanana" to teach Israeli Arab women about home safety, accident prevention and emergency care.

      Led by a ZAKA medical professional and an Arabic-speaking paramedic, the course marked the first time that ZAKA and the hareidi-religious community has specifically geared a course toward women in the Israeli Arab sector.

      Born out of lessons learned by volunteers arriving at homes in Israel's minority community, the course addressed not only accident prevention, but providing post-accident care during the "four golden minutes" -- the critical time that can make the difference between life and death.

      The half-day session, held Wednesday in Kfar Qassem, proved to be very popular; 45 women showed up for the class.

      One of the participants who recently had found herself in a helpless situation after her child was injured at home praised the program, noting, "The skills we gained in the course are priceless."

      The course is part of the "Kulanana" initiative, comprised of some 20 Israeli NGOs of diverse backgrounds, including ZAKA. The organization is dedicated to promoting diversity and fairness in Israeli society.

      The group hopes to extend the program to 12 other Arab towns across Israel in future. ZAKA, which has an active Minorities Unit based in the Negev, Galilee and the "triangle" area of the country, has more than 100 volunteers from the Arab, Bedouin and Druze sectors, and provides quick response to emergencies in all the Arab towns in those regions.

      Kfar Qassem Mayor Nader Sarsur, who attended the course, presented ZAKA founder and chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav with a special plaque of recognition at the event.

      "Our Scriptures tell us that 'Man was created in the image of G-d.' ZAKA, as an organization, offers aid and assistance to all, regardless of religion, race or creed," Meshi-Zahav commented.