Assaf Yazdi
Assaf YazdiIsrael National News

Assaf Yazdi, director of the Jerusalem Ministry, joined the Arutz Sheva - Israel National News studio Thursday morning to tell about how Israel's capital is helping to absorb citizens evacuated from their homes due to the war.

"More than 15,000 individuals who have been evacuated have come to Jerusalem, staying in approximately 60 different hotels, and along with the Prime Minister's Office, we are coordinating care for them. Nearly every hotel has its own representative, who serves as the point of contact between the government and all other fields, such as schools, special education, healthcare, and any other needs they may have. We are talking about people who left their house in a hurry and need a strong support network, and we are giving it to them," Yazdi explained.

"This has been a serious blow and there are no feelings like it. People left their homes and communities, left everything, and have been living in hotel rooms for nearly a month in a state of uncertainty. It is our responsibility as a government and the Jerusalem Ministry to be there for them."

Yazdi also pointed out how anyone evacuated has already returned to studies as close as possible to their normal learning format. "It is a serious challenge, and in Jerusalem in particular. Any child, at any age, has been placed in a local school. In cases where we could not place them in a school, we have created dedicated schools for evacuees throughout the city, for all student populations, including special education."

Yazdi noted that while caring for the evacuees, he received word that his "chief of staff" had been injured in the war. "Golan Kriger, my chief of staff, is an officer in the armored corps. He was drafted in the first day of the war and approximately 2 weeks ago was injured by an anti-tank missile that was fired at his tank. He has improved since, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a complete recovery."

The Jerusalem Ministry continues to work to achieve goals set for it before the war, alongside care for the evacuees: "The Jerusalem Ministry is currently leading three large-scale plans. The first is the plan for the economic development of the city, the second is the plan to develop the Old City region both in terms of tourism and sovereignty, and the third is the plan to improve sovereignty and governance of eastern Jerusalem. We are talking about approximately 400,000 residents, the majority of them not citizens of Israel, and the societal fabric is delicate and complicated, from the political, societal, and security standpoints. This is extremely challenging for us. We are carrying on operations in the field, improving our presence, sovereignty, employment, Hebrew studies, and economic development, all in an attempt to produce a normal and secure fabric of life. This contributes to security, a sense of belonging, and the economic development of Jerusalem."

The Ministry has also been responsible for care for the traditional celebrations in Meron on Lag B'omer since last year, and the preparations for the event will begin around Hanukkah - approximately five months in advance.

"Last year, we successfully carried out that assignment and we are now fully involved in preparations for the next celebration. We are prepared in the fields of legislation, infrastructure in Meron, production of the event, and preparation of the physical area. The celebration last year proved that it is possible to hold such a large event successfully, with full safety measures in place, and the people 'voted with their feet' to carry out the celebration in a safe manner."