By Abigail Klein Leichman - September 16, 2015

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Volunteers from IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid spent the Jewish New Year in dramatic rescue and aid operations on behalf of refugees pouring into Europe from war-torn countries including Syria.

IsraAID Director Shachar Zahavi tells ISRAEL21c that on Sunday, September 13, volunteers from his non-profit NGO sprang into action when they saw a boatful of refugees nearing the Greek shore suddenly flip over as its engine exploded.

“Some of the women, children and babies didn’t know how to swim and our staff immediately jumped into the water to help them, preventing them from drowning,” says Zahavi. “After bringing everyone onto the shore safely, our medical team treated some of the sick and injured while our logistic team distributed food and water to the rest.”

On that same day – the eve of Rosh Hashana — another boatload of refugees capsized in high winds as it neared a Greek island. At least 34 people drowned, including 15 babies and children. In the wake of this tragedy, IsraAID received a request from the United Nations to provide the survivors with psycho-social treatment in a refugee camp set up on the island of Rhodes. Read More