Alexander Mashkevich and Michael Mirilashvili to Create Specialty Vehicle Firefighting Brigade
Alexander Mashkevich and Michael Mirilashvili are donating funds to create a special tractor brigade for the humanitarian volunteer organization ZAKA, a specialty vehicle brigade to fight fires in difficult terrain. 30 vehicles will be fully equipped with the most modern firefighting tools. On the 4th of January, they will be received by MIA Head Eliyahu Yishai.
“We are creating a tractor division of our organization to quickly react to and fight fires. The first three mini-tractors, equipped with every necessary tool, will be on constant patrol in the north of the country. It is planned to put 30 such vehicles into patrol all over Israel,” ZAKA President Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said to the IzRus portal. He also said that the cost of each special tractor is almost 250 thousand shekels. The funds to buy and equip the first three vehicles (200 thousand dollars) were given by Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) President Alexander Mashkevich and ZAKA Trustee Council Chairman Michael Mirilashvili.
The presentation of the tractor brigade and its technical capabilities will take place on the 4th of November in the Nir-Etzion village (Karmen region). The presentation will be attended by Michael Mirilashvili and MIA Head Eli Yishai. Family of those killed in the December fire, members of fire-fighting and first aid brigades, policemen and ZAKA volunteers are all invited to the ceremony. “The tractor division will be created in memory of the 44 people who died in the Karmel fire,” Meshi-Zahav noted.
As the EAJC website reported
on the 5th of December, EAJC President Alexander Mashkevich and ZAKA Trustee Council Chairman Michael Mirilashvili had visited the north of Israel, which was damaged in a fire unlike any previous fires in the history of Israel. "We are very worried by this tragedy, and are trying to do everything within our power to deal with its aftermath," Alexander Mashkevich stated.
The EAJC leaders met with the head of the Russian team of firefighting specialists, Chief Military Expert EMERCOM Pavel Plat at the emergency crisis center on Mt. Carmel. The Consul General of Russia in Haifa, Igor Popov, also took part in the meeting.
The EAJC leader, who also heads the FSU division of the Jewish National Fund “Keren Hayesod,” has stated that this structure will coordinate the flow of Diaspora donations together with the government of Israel to remedy the consequences of the fire. “My friends and many Jews from different world regions are ready to help and participate in a full-scale restoration problem for the regions devastated by the fire. There has been no talk of concrete sums as of yet, but we are ready to give as much as necessary,” Alexander Mashkevich underscored..
Michael Mirilashvili then proposed to create a special vehicle brigade for ZAKA. “We are realizing a new program – we provide ZAKA workers with the equipment necessary to work with fires. We are talking about buying machines which can go into areas difficult to access to extinguish small hotbeds.”
In September 2010, after the EAJC General Council, businessmen close to the Congress had collected over 1,2 million dollars for ZAKA. The biggest sum – 520 thousand dollars – was donated by Michael Mirilashvili.