From Bondi to Ashdod

FIVE Australian lifesavers arrived in Israel last week to train children in a pilot Nipper program in Ashdod.

The program’s aim is to promote water safety education, to prevent drowning and to save lives. About 74 Israeli children and youths are learning how to cope with the dangers of the sea and help swimmers in distress. They will also undergo basic first aid and resuscitation classes, and upon completing the course they will become volunteer lifeguards.

Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma said: “We hope the program will branch out to many other places along Israel’s coast as the benefits of surf lifesaving education become as commonplace in Israel as it is in Australia.”

The Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Surf Life Saving Israel (SLSI) teams also took some time out to be the guests of honour at a function at the Australian Embassy.

SLSI president Steve Rubner, an Australian oleh, first approached the ambassador 18 months ago with his dream to bring the Nipper program to Israel.

Ashdod is the first Israeli municipality to join the program.