(photo credit: REUTERS)
National Service volunteers who live and serve in Eilat will now be eligible for free public transportation on all lines throughout the country, including those to and from the city, Transportation Minister Israel Katz announced on Tuesday.
Katz’s decision to allow these volunteers in Eilat to travel free occurred following a request by National Civil Service Administration director Sar-Shalom Jerbi. Until now, volunteers received free trips only up to the Arava junction, whence they had to fund the remainder of their journey to Eilat – amounting to NIS 58 each way.
“Many of the volunteers come from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds, and all these financial expenses were significant for them,” Jerbi said.
By expanding the free travel arrangements for the National Service volunteers in Eilat, Katz said he aimed to demonstrate an appreciation for their important service to the community.
The volunteers “contribute to a wide variety of fields in improving social life in Israel,” Katz added.
Following the minister’s decision, the director for the National Authority for Public Transportation, Meir Chen, sent Jerbi official word informing him of the expansion.
Jerbi thanked Katz for responding affirmatively to his request, which will allow National Service members full funding for their trips.
“With the support of the minister responsible for National Civil Service, [Senior Citizens Minister] Uri Orbach, we will continue to equalize the conditions of the volunteers to soldiers serving on the home front to pay respect toward their work on behalf of the community and the country,” Jerbi said.