Israel Life Saving Federation
What is Israel Life Saving Federation (ILSF)?
The ILSF is a non-profit organisation that educates children, youth, parents and others about water safety management in order to reduce and prevent drownings on all Israel’s bodies of water – beaches, and lakes.
Overview of the environment
Israel has over 180 kms of coastline to the Mediterranean, and other natural and man-made bodies of water including freshwater lakes such as the Sea of Galilee, dams etc. Israel has a higher average number of relative drownings than any other Mediterranean country.
Water Safety is not currently part of the school curriculum. While some beaches are supervised by paid lifeguards there is no national overarching organisation that delivers and or coordinates water safety education efforts. There is another organisation (Surf Life Saving Israel) at a single location (Ashdod) that does not have any national focus or affiliations.
History of ILSF
The ILSF was founded in 2019 by a number of passionate Australian-born Israelis, many of whom have personal experience of the culture of Surf Lifesaving in Australia and are trained by Surf Life Saving Australia. They established the ILSF to share that understanding and passion in Israel; to educate and promote water safety management and to create a nationally-focused community based not-for-profit organisation to prevent drownings.
Based on the principles of the SLSA, the ILSF is community focused directed at giving water safety management and rescue skills irrespective of age, gender, or religious belief. In Israel, this represents a rich diversity of ethnic cultures and religions.
The ILSF commenced its operations in the summer of 2020 at Zevulun Beach in the Municipality of Herzliya, some 14 kms north of Tel Aviv. Despite the backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions creating an additional layer of complexity, the ILSF has successfully achieved the following:
- Close to 200-strong vibrant membership.
- 40 newly-trained Age Managers who attended four courses, two of which were Zoom sessions.
- 23 new Water Safety Graduates – 2 courses which was run over two days.
- 37 teenaged “Dolphin” Graduates – a Surf Rescue Certificate course over five sessions consisting of four hours per session.
- 15 teenaged Dolphin Graduates who have trained to assist in Age Management and Water Safety.
- 83 Nippers that have completed the 6 weeks summer Junior development program –‘The Nippers’.
- First exhibition session held at Tel Aviv beach.
- At the time of writing other exhibition sessions are being planned in several other locations: Tel Aviv (with 13 beaches), Haifa – the 2nd largest beach city in Israel, Jisr Elzarka – an Arab village, Zichron Yaakov area.
Initial success is demonstrated by support from the Australian Ambassador to Israel, approvals from the Local Municipality of Herzliya, and the support of our growing community which includes parents and young people from 13 different cities around Israel including Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh and Nahariya, all more than a 90-minute drive to Herzliya Beach.
Significant nationwide exposure on TV and print media demonstrated the growing interest in our activities.
- We have partnered with Maccabi World Union to supply 8-week water safety programme as part of their 1-year international leadership programme. Two groups will begin on September 10.
- In October 2020, we will commence an 8-week elementary school education program in Tel Aviv for 59 children where their parents will also be learning Age Management and Water Safety management.
- We have been requested by the local educational department to create a 50hr voluntary program for high schools. In Israel all students in years 10, 11 and 12 must participate in a compulsory 50 hours volunteer programme to graduate.
The ILSF will be working towards increasing partnerships with the government and municipal organisations and departments to introduce our programme to the school system at primary and high school level; expanding Nippers programmes and Water Safety Management programmes to other locations; creating a community of trained and educated young people who, can become the future leaders of water safety awareness and training in Israel; and agreement with the municipalities to patrol beaches with cooperation with local lifeguards: training of our instructors in the Bronze Medallion by overseas instructors and assessors.
Another important priority for us is to become a full contributing and participating member of the International Life Saving Federation of Europe (ILSE). The ILSF believes that we could be instrumental in learning from the ILSE and promoting the provision of lifesaving education, lifesaving techniques and services and to promote lifesaving sport in Israel. We consider it important that we are able to spearhead Israel’s efforts to introduce of best practice in drowning prevention, aquatic lifesaving, resuscitation and, in conjunction with other organizations, of emergency care.