New technology class opens in memory of fallen soldier


23 July 2007 Tears and pride at inauguration of new technology class Friends, relatives and dignitaries have come together to inaugurate a new technology class in memory of Wassim Nazal, the first of the three Israeli soldiers killed in the Hezbollah ambush that sparked last years war. The purchase and installation of the state-of-the-art equipment for the junior high school at Kfar Yanuach, near the Lebanese border, was made possible by money raised at the World ORT Board of Directors meeting earlier this year; Board members each made contributions in the names of their own children and grandchildren. The $30,000 fund has been managed by ORT Braude College of Engineering student Tomer Weinberg, who survived the ambush despite sustaining serious injuries. Tomer was a special guest at the Board of Directors meeting. Mr Weinberg told the small but intensely emotional ceremony that he was working hard in support of the campaign to get Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two comrades-in-arms who were kidnapped during the ambush, freed. But at the same time its just as important to remember our other friends who gave their lives for their country, he said. The World ORT fund will be used to set up similar high tech classrooms in memory of Eyal Benin and Shani Turgeman, who were also killed in the ambush. From left: Dr Raja Sarag, Colonel Ramiz Suleiman Ahmad, World ORT Project Manager in Israel Sherrie Gazit, member of World ORTs Technology Education field team, Shmuel Cohen, Mayor Gadelela Saad, Tomer Weinberg, Salach Nazal, the Head of World ORTs Representative Office in Israel, Arie Geter, Chaluah Nazal and PTA Chairman Naaman Chemdan. The fund was the initiative of World ORT Finance Committee Chairman Alan Berkowitz. Tomers concern and compassion for his friends families, as well as his dignity and bravery in dealing with his own injuries made a very big impression on me, Mr Berkowitz said. I was amazed at the spontaneous generosity that was shown by members of the Board of Directors and World ORT staff in supporting this project within minutes of it being initiated. Tomer unveiled the commemorative plaque together with Wassims widow, Achmal. Wassims uncle, Dr Raja Sarag, who is also principal of the junior high school, said: The family wanted Tomer and Achmal to do this together because in our eyes it symbolises the continuation of Wassims life and heritage. Wassim spent his last moments with Tomer and since then Tomer has become a regular visitor becoming like one of the family. We appreciate how hard he has worked to make this technology class a reality both to honour Wassims memory and for the future of the local children. Dr Sarag said the eight computers, LCD projector and screen and robotics equipment would make a significant impact on the school. Our antiquated equipment was stolen in 2004 and since then weve had no computers at all. What happened to Wassim is a tragedy but it has meant that we have been able to renew the teaching of technology here, he said. Dr Arie Geter, the Head of World ORTs Representative Office in Israel, said he was proud of Tomers commitment to help his friends families. We at World ORT are privileged to be part of ensuring that Wassim is remembered and that the education of present and future generations of children will be improved at the same time, Dr Geter said. Also present at the ceremony was the Mayor of Kfar Yanuach, Gadelela Saad, who had earlier attended a meeting with a group of the Druze towns young men ahead of their entry into the Israel Defence Forces. Wassims mother, Chaluah, and father, Salach, were also present. A large photograph of Wassim Nazal, a father of two, has been fixed to the classrooms wall and a cabinet has been prepared to exhibit mementoes of his life. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.