LOS ANGELES (Aug. 13)
There is a growing awareness in Israel of the “need to provide care and shelter for animals” in that country, according to Eytan Bentsur, Israel Consul General in Los Angeles, but Israelis need help from abroad to follow through with activities and projects to improve the animals’ situation.
Speaking recently with West Coast members of the Advisory Board of CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel), Bentsur pointed to Israelis’ increasing sensitivity to the problem of homeless and injured dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and mules in the streets.
Israelis are now starting to recognize the need to address this problem in the spirit of the Jewish principle of preventing “tsaar ba’alei chayyim,” the suffering of animals, he said.
Bentsur, who himself has two dogs, said that help is desperately needed from abroad to support spaying and neutering programs to decrease animal overpopulation, for shelters and veterinary care for homeless and injured animals; and for humane education in the school system, to ensure that the next generation deepens the commitment to animal welfare.
BACKGROUND OF CHAI
Rabbi Sidney Jacobs and Betty Jacobs, CHAI Board members who are also active in animal rights/welfare work in the U.S., explained to Bentsur that CHAI was established in 1984 to help improve existing shelters, create new shelters where none exist, provide veterinary medical equipment and supplies, and sponsor human education projects.
CHAI, at POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, includes on its Advisory Board, in addition to Sidney and Betty Jacobs, Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer; Rep. Tom Lantos (D. Calif.) and Annette Lantos, both long active in causes on behalf of animals; and Israeli SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Directors Joan Comay (Jerusalem) and Hilda Friedstein (Tel Aviv).
Since its founding, Rabbi Jacobs said, CHAI has carried out several important projects in pursuit of its overall goals. Last year, CHAI sponsored a Humane Education contest in the public schools to award pupils who performed outstanding acts of kindness to animals or who wrote outstanding essays about humane attitudes towards animals.
CHAI, added Betty Jacobs, has also initiated a campaign to increase public understanding of spaying and neutering, not yet widely understood or practiced in Israel.
It has provided Israeli shelters with funds to improve their facilities, such as putting a roof on the new shelter in Raanana, an autoclave (machine to sterilize veterinary instruments and drapes) for the Jerusalem SPCA, and funds for humane drugs to replace the strychnine poison used in municipal pounds.
It is also raising money for a Humane Education Center at the Tel Aviv Jaffa SPCA’s new site, where the shelter will soon be relocated.