Russian Israelis form 'coronavirus volunteers' unit

The movement was inspired by a similar group called Quarantine Aid - Israel, and operates online in both Hebrew and English.

Coronavirus quarantine ward at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Coronavirus quarantine ward at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
A group of Russian-speaking Israelis have launched a group to provide aid to those in need amid the coronavirus crisis, creating a Facebook group called "Volunteers Versus Corona" on Friday.

Doubling in size in less than a day, as of Sunday morning, the group had more than 600 members willing to offer products, transportation, delivery and useful information to other post-Soviet immigrants and Israelis in general.

Some members, who happen to be medical professionals, offered medical assistance. "Hello everybody. Tel Aviv. Male nurse and spend most of my time at the hospital," said Dima Kaplan. "But if you need advice, ask, [and] I will try to answer as fast as possible," he wrote.

"Jerusalem nurse. When I'm not at the hospital, I can help," posted Czech immigrant Martina Pospisilova. "I am Czech, but I can understand Russian. And I can help you improve [your] English - if you are bored in quarantine."

Other members offered dog-sitting services for those in quarantine. "Southern Tel Aviv. Dog-walking and other services - just watch out for your health," posted Evgeniya Kogan.

The movement was inspired by a similar group that was created just a few days prior, called Quarantine Aid - Israel. Created to help those in quarantine, the group is in both Hebrew and English.

"If you know of someone immuno-compromised or elderly who may not be on Facebook but who needs support, please post to see if someone nearby can check on them," the group's admins wrote. "Food sharing (for those who don't have access to a kitchen), temp jobs (for those who can't go to work), etc."

The unit also offers to help Israelis who recently lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. "Dog walking - if you are able to pay, please offer to pay. This can help supplement someone's income who may have lost business."

The founders added, "If you are able and qualified to provide emotional support for someone being isolated, please offer!"
Home to 2 million Arabic speakers, 1.4 million Russian speakers, and hundreds of thousands belonging to other ethnic groupings, Israeli society has given rise to a wide variety of similar small groups and movements within the various communities.