NORTH The Defense Ministry recently wrapped up a program to bring Israeli high school seniors to heritage and battle sites on the Golan Heights in order to help build motivation for the youths’ upcoming drafts into the IDF. The program was run under the guidance of military commanders and other figures.Head of the Defense Ministry’s social-security bureau Haim Ben-Ami said, “Today we are completing the program for encouraging a more serious draft that was held throughout the year. Some 40,000 youths from 450 schools from Nahariya in the North to Dimona in the South [participated], from every sector [of society],” visiting historical battle sites and watching live fire exercises. There is no doubt that such events increase motivation for army service among Israeli youths, Ben-Ami added, lauding what he described as successful cooperation between the IDF and the education system.Birthing immigrant finds the right police officers Two recent immigrants living in an absorption center in Safed were lucky enough to flag down the right police officers this week when the woman went into labor. Her husband, who does not speak any Hebrew, went to the streets to seek help when his wife went into labor, the Local website reported. He flagged down two police officers, pointed to his stomach and said the word “woman” in Hebrew. The two officers found the woman deep into labor. One of the officers, Maor Avital, is married to a nurse in the maternity ward at the city’s Ziv Medical Center, and he called her for instructions on how to deliver the baby, according to the report.Although the officers called for an ambulance, by the time it arrived, all that was left to do was cut the newborn’s umbilical cord, the website reported. The paramedics then drove the woman to Ziv Medical Center, where the officer’s wife had provided instructions to treat her.Western Galilee fire burns 5 hectaresA fire broke out Sunday in a nature reserve in the Western Galilee, decimating approximately five hectares (12.3 acres) of forest. Sixteen firefighting units arrived to fight the blaze, aided by multiple water-dropping aircraft, and two out of the fire’s three centers were contained. Firefighters later fully extinguished the blaze. A preliminary investigation revealed that the conflagration began when an olive tree caught fire.CENTER Local Authorities Union honors KKL-JNF The Union of Local Authorities in Israel granted its annual prize for the “Notable of the Union of Local Authorities” to the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) this year for its “110 years of Zionist and environmental fulfillment and achievement for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”Accepting the award, the organization’s world chairman Efi Stenzler noted, “KKL-JNF operates 45 branches around the world. We operate in many communities and serve as a bridge between the Jewish world and Israel.” Foremost, he continued, “I view these strong connections and close relationships with communities from abroad as important,” lauding their benefits as moral. He thanked the local authority and municipal officials “for the time and effort you have put into making a strong connection with KKL-JNF worldwide.”In his remarks at the ceremony, Stenzler laid out his future plans “to lead the process of building a canal from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea canal, 110 miles [177 kilometers] long.” The channel, which aims to replenish water in the Dead Sea, “will use the difference in height between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea and will provide clean and inexpensive electricity to its population. And as we did in the Hula Valley, we will turn the channel into a green spine canal with water resorts. This project will require the collaboration of local authorities. I’m sure, that with your assistance, we can make any necessary national project in Israel possible.”Suspected arson injures 5 in Ramat Gan In what police suspect was an act of arson, an apartment caught fire in Ramat Gan early last week, injuring five people. According to police, the fire spread to the ground-floor apartment on Neveh Yehoshua Street from four blazing motorbikes parked at the entrance to the building.Four building residents suffered from smoke inhalation and another suffered burns to the hands. All five were evacuated to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. The fire also caused heavy damage to the apartment. Several suspects were seen fleeing the scene, and police opened an investigation into the incident.First class of graduates from Academy of Philanthropy Seventeen young professionals recently became the first graduating class of Israel’s new Israel Academy of Philanthropy in Tel Aviv. Other branches were also opened in Jerusalem, Beersheba and the Galilee.The academy describes itself as being uniquely designed to prepare the next generation of resource development professions and the only one of its kind in the country, positioning its graduates for high-placed jobs in the nonprofit sector.The coursework consists of 45 academic hours covering philanthropic theory, practical workshops and lectures from successful professionals in the field. The curriculum includes donor cultivation and solicitation, organizational branding, prospect identification and budgeting strategic resource development plans.SOUTH Eilat makes the sea accessible for disabled persons The beaches of Israel’s southernmost city have long been a favorite vacation destination for Israelis and international tourists alike. Beginning this week, the city of Eilat introduced three devices that could make the Red Sea shores accessible to a usually underserved population – those with physical disabilities. The municipality purchased and introduced three special wheelchairs that can roll through the sand and float in the water, allowing those with physical disabilities to sunbathe and take to the water. In addition, special paved pathways at the city’s northern beaches were built to allow greater access for handicapped persons.The chairs are composed of three air-filled balloons, a high backrest for added stability, two buoys and hand rails. They will be placed at the city’s northern beach.Eilat’s municipal director of beaches and rescue services, Eran Shriky, said, “Seeing the joy in disabled people’s eyes after they’ve entered the water for the first time is very moving.”Lifeguards stationed at the affected beaches have been instructed to assist people using the chairs, which should only be used with the aid of another person.800 children hold mass prayer in Ashkelon Some 800 students in the Gaza border region held a mass prayer for rain and peace in the South this week. The event, held in Ashkelon, included the participation of Ashkelon coast regional Rabbi Yaakov Avitan, Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, other municipal officials and Education Ministry officials, the Local website reported. The event also included performances by several musical groups and a prayer led by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi.The gathering was the third of its kind in as many years.Vaknin said that “to see all the small children praying is something very moving,” the website reported. This tradition of prayer for children in the city of Ashkelon has the power to affect the Almighty and bring peace to the country and bring relief to the sick and suffering,” he added.