From Dec. 27-29, nearly 50 Druze counselors and members of Bedouin Youth Groups (14-16 years old) from northern Israel will participate in the first-ever leadership seminar on forest safety and fire prevention. Co-sponsored by B’nai B’rith International and KKL-JNF (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund), this is the next phase of B’nai B’rith’s Israel Emergency Fund project established in response to last year’s Mt. Carmel Fire.
This three-day seminar will be held at KKL-JNF’s Nes Harim Field Center where attendees will meet with Knesset member Hamad Amar, Chairman of the Zionist Council Igal Bibi, Chairman of the Zionist Druze Organization Yoseph Nassar Aladin, and several mayors of key towns.
“Since 1865, when B’nai B’rith responded to an appeal from Moses Montefiore for the direct relief of plague victims in pre-state Israel, we have remained committed to alleviating victims of natural and manmade disasters worldwide,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “We would not be able to co-sponsor this important seminar without our valued members and donors supporting our disaster relief work.”
On the first day of the seminar, participants will tour the Carmel Forest collecting tree trimmings from the green part of the forest near the area that was burnt last year. On Dec. 28, the youth will take part in educational activities and exercise independent forest navigation. On the final day, Dec. 29, the Druze youth will demonstrate what they learned from the seminar, and they will participate in a fire extinguishing simulation with the help of KKL-JNF’s professional team. They will also tour the Ben Shemen Forest.
“Though a year has passed since the Mt. Carmel Fire, there are still so many unmet needs. This seminar aims to mitigate that and provide valuable education and skills to the affected community,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
“B’nai B’rith sees great importance in educating forest preservation for future generations. This seminar has a national importance, as it is almost one year since the infamous tragic Carmel Fire. The seminar is the outcome of a fruitful partnership between KKL-JNF and B’nai B’rith International,” said Alan Schneider, director of B’nai B’rith International’s World Center in Jerusalem and the initiator of the seminar.
According to KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, “The purpose of the leadership seminar is to share forest knowledge with Druze teenagers ages 14-16 in all that has to do with forest maintenance, how to contribute to the forest land and prevent forest fires. The seminar will expand their sense of personal responsibility towards the forest, and over the years they will be our future ambassadors, forest fighters and maybe even cooperate with the KKL-JNF. This seminar is experimental and we intend to expand it throughout the country.”