Israel’s largest non-profit bypasses Houthi attacks with medical supply airlift

Tuesday’s airlift was the first of a series that was facilitated through a targeted global fundraising campaign.

By Debbie Weiss, The Algemeiner

Yad Sarah, Israel’s largest volunteer-run non-profit organization, this week began circumventing shipping delays of critical equipment caused by attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis with the arrival of the first airlift to Ben Gurion Airport.

The hostilities in the Red Sea have so far diverted 64 containers of urgent medical supplies and are likely to cause a further delay of up to five months on any new maritime order, the organization said, warning that such setbacks were life-threatening.

Yad Sarah Founder Rabbi Uri Lupolianski told The Algemeiner that his organization sought to “support the gap in the healthcare system in Israel” by importing an “unprecedented quantity of medical and rehabilitation equipment” for soldiers, evacuees, and hospitalized patients.

“As the leading social organization in the field of home rehabilitation and recovery in Israel, we are in the midst of a marathon to provide much-needed assistance, as we do always, but even more now in times of emergency,” he said.

Tuesday’s airlift was the first of a series that was facilitated through a targeted global fundraising campaign that included a significant donation from the Jewish Federations of North America. Airlifts can incur costs up to four times those of maritime shipments.

“As our brave soldiers fight to defend Israel on all fronts, we are stepping in to do our part to circumvent life-endangering delays in humanitarian supplies due to regional hostilities,” Yad Sarah CEO Moshe Cohen said.

“These critical steps also support precautionary measures for a severe worsening of the situation in the north of the country,” he added.

Among the critical items that were delivered were Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) devices used in physiotherapy and portable oxygen generators, which will be used for the home rehabilitation of wounded soldiers, the general population, and those under threat from power outages in Israel’s north.

Since the outbreak of the war against Hamas nearly four months ago, the organization has issued more than a full year’s worth of inventory. It has expanded its mandate to include the long-term rehabilitation of more than 2,500 soldiers and has extended support to more than 13,000 Israelis directly impacted by the war. In addition to providing essential medical services and equipment loans, Yad Sarah has also provided housing, including in its convalescence hotel in Jerusalem, to evacuees from Israel’s embattled north.

The organization, which has 120 branches around the country, also supports many elderly or disabled people from the north and south who are not able to be evacuated by providing them with equipment in their homes, including shower chairs, hospital beds, and oxygen generators, for free.

Lupolianski also said that Yad Sarah was prepared for any “escalation in the war.”

For over two months, Yemen’s Houthi forces have been targeting maritime trade in the Red Sea, launching attacks on ships owned by Israelis or those identified as heading towards Israel – and even some with no links to Israel – with cruise and anti-ship ballistic missiles and drones.