Top European Rabbis Learn Self-Defense, Community Preparedness from Leading Israeli Rescue Organizations
Over 100 rabbis from across Europe on Monday practiced how to combat weapon attacks and other physical threats at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) conference in Prague. This special training session for communal emergency situations was led by Dov Maisel, chief operations officer of IsraeLife: United Hatzalah, and Matti Goldstein, head of ZAKA, and was a part of a three-day conference covering important halachic and communal issues for Jews across Europe.
Following the recent wave of anti-Semitics attacks in Europe, the European Jewish Association, the Matanel Foundation’s Hulya think tank and the RCE invited Maisel and Goldstein to train communal leaders in self-defence and how to cope with terrorism. During the practice session, an SMS emergency drill was distributed to the attending rabbis, showing them how technology can boost response during a crisis by using United Hatzalah’s LifeCompass platform and NowForce smartphone application. These tools, developed in Israel, quickly gather data about an emergency and draw a virtual perimeter around the incident so that a first responder can be dispatched to the scene within seconds.
In addition, Maisel and Goldstein instructed the rabbis on self-defense techniques to ward off an armed attacker and how to react at the scene of a terror attack. Rabbis practiced how to neutralize a terrorist with a knife or gun and received basic training on how to provide assistance to victims of an attack.
“The rabbis went through a special course that we give to emergency staff representatives,” explained Maisel. “They really learned just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of how to react in terror attacks within the community. We introduced them to the LifeCompass technologies and the NowForce emergency application. The whole idea of the course was to engage them in the technologies used by Zaka and United Hatzalah under the oversight of IsraeLife and to help Jewish communities in emergency situations. We did this to help the RCE in taking active steps forward in emergency preparedness, to understand the urgency and to apply these techniques into the communities.”