Australian initiative to reduce Israeli drownings

May 6, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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Australian lifesavers will travel to Israel in September in a bid to arrest the growing number of drownings caused by inexperienced swimmers.

Nitzanim Beach

Nitzanim Beach


Sydney-based former accountant Steve Rubner witnessed a surf rescue while holidaying in Israel with his daughter Amy who is a practicing member of Surf Life Saving Australia.

Father and daughter felt there was room for improvement in the Israeli technique and have established the Israel Cultural Connect program which will send Australian lifeguards to Israel to train their Israeli counterparts to the acceptable level Down Under.

Steve Rubner

Steve Rubner

Both Israel and Australia are affiliated to the world wide International Surf Life Saving Federation.

Rubner, from Woollahra in Sydney,  plans on team leaders from Australia visiting Israel in July and has hopes that the project will get underway later this year.

He told J-Wire: “I am planning to have Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma launch the project which will also introduce the Australian nipper concept to Israel. And we are planning to involve Israeli Arabs in the scheme.”

The nippers will learn basic techniques including first aid and resuscitation.

Rubner explained: “Members of kibbutzim are bused to Nitzanim beach between Ashod and Ashkelon, where we are launching the project. They have no knowledge of rips and will wander into seemingly calm water only to find themselves in life-threatening trouble.”

Future plans involve bringing Israeli lifesavers to Australia to enhance their training.

Last year 34 people lost their lives on Israeli beaches with many of those rescued suffering permanent brain injuries.

The program is being conducted with the cooperation of Surf Life Saving Australia.

Rubner added: “As they say, if you save one life, you save the world.”


To contact Rubner whose organization will need funds for equipment., email



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