An Israeli diplomat who became the first Bedouin to serve in the country’s Foreign Ministry has helped to launch a life-saving project at his latest posting, Kathmandu.
Ishmael Khaldi has teamed up with local Chabad Rabbi Hezkl Lifshitz, to provide trekkers – many of whom are Israeli – with mini oxygen tanks to rent to protect them from altitude sickness.
Eighteen months ago, a 26-year-old Israeli woman, Vered Aviyashar, from Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv, was killed when her Jeep overturned on the Annapurna ridge of the Himalayas.
After the accident, a medical project was launched in her memory.
Khalidi said the project was “where Bedouin and Jewish values meet”. He was inspired to help when he heard about Vered’s death, and donated three months’ salary towards the project.
Lifshitz explained: “At altitudes over 3,500 metres one is at risk of altitude sickness due to the oxygen-thin air. Altitude sickness can be life-threatening; accessible oxygen is the most effective method to treat it.
“But travellers generally avoid carrying oxygen tanks because of their considerable weight and price. The solution therefore is to adapt the tank’s weight to the climber’s ability to carry them.”