Shfaram to become first Arab city with traffic safety club, Or Yarok

Shfaram will become the first Arab city to inaugurate an Or Yarok ("Green Light") traffic safety club this Wednesday morning at the mayor's office. Founded in 1997 by current chairman Avi Naor, shortly after his son was killed in a car accident, Or Yarok is a non-profit organization with the aim of reducing traffic casualties and improving driving safety in Israel. After a decade of sponsoring programs aimed at improving Israeli drivers and roads, the group founded its first local club in Tiberias several weeks ago. Shfaram's becoming the first Arab city to form an Or Yarok club is significant due to the disproportionate number of Arab traffic fatalities. Anati Ben-Shmuel of Or Yarok said that the organization approached several Arab communities and chose Shfaram because of the mayor's "enthusiastic response, cooperation, and desire to get the project off the ground as soon as possible." Methods employed by the organization will include school campaigns to educate children about the dangers of reckless driving. Organizers hope that implementation will result in increased pressure on parents at home not to drink and drive. Members will also coordinate efforts with city police, and in the future may be able to give traffic tickets on behalf of officers. Additionally, the group will make recommendations to the city concerning improvements in road conditions, traffic lights, etc. Among those participating are several well-known local figures. Coordinator Elias Tohama, a former Israeli police officer, is currently the head of Shfaram's volunteer forces. Farid Mur, successful businessman turned community service leader, will serve as chairman. Or Yarok is providing all financial support, as well as organizational infrastructure and planning. Wednesday's ceremony will be attended by a number of local dignitaries, community leaders and religious figures. In the coming weeks, haredi community Betar Illit will become the first settlement to host an Or Yarok division.