Welcome to the Safety and Security FAQs During Iron Swords

We understand the weight of fellows’/parents’/caretakers’ concerns, especially during this uncertain time. We are here to provide clear and sincere answers to all questions.

Our FAQ section is designed with the utmost care to address your concerns seriously, empathetically, and reassuringly. Our fellows’ safety is our priority, and we are committed to providing them with accurate information.

Please know that our dedicated team is just a message away for personalized support or any specific inquiries. Your trust is invaluable, and we are here to support our fellows every step of the way. If you have more specific questions, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and we’ll reply as soon as possible.

Safety and Security

How does Masa handle the safety and security of it’s Fellows?

Our fellows safety, security, and well-being is our top priority. We are consistently being updated with the most accurate information to maintain each fellows overall well-being. The moment we know there is a security issue in any of the areas where fellows are located, we have a streamlined system to get the fellows the precise information they need to stay safe. Amir Keinan, Chief Security and Safety Officer at Masa, is in communication with each program director of every Masa program. The safety protocols are as follows: If an incident occurs, Amir begins continuous communication with various security bodies, including the army's Home Front Command, relevant government offices, and the Jewish Agency, ensuring a well-informed approach. He then meticulously gathers essential information and methodically disseminates it to our program managers, equipping them with the necessary procedures and instructions to safeguard our fellows. We want you to know that your children’s safety is our top priority at Masa. Our security team, led by Amir Keinan, is ready to handle any situation that may arise in Israel. Amir keeps in touch with the army, the government, and the Jewish Agency to get the latest updates. He also trains our program managers on how to protect our fellows in case of an emergency.

Are there designated safe areas (Mamad and Miklat) in the housing of Fellows?

Our fellows have a variety of safe places to go if there is an air raid siren. In places where there are a lot of people, like boarding schools, hotels, and reception centers, there are big shelters ready for everyone. They are close by and easy to access. Some apartments will have shelter rooms that are protected from rockets and bombs. A “mamad” is a room within an apartment that sometimes doubles as a bedroom. A “miklat” is the name for the general building room which serves as a shelter for the all residents. If an apartment does not have such a designated room, the Home Front Command advises residents to stay in the building's stairwell. Stairwells are preferred due to their lack of windows and the strong foundation of the building resting on them, making them the safest option. Moreover, urban shelters scattered throughout cities in Israel are open and available for use, providing further secure locations for individuals during times of emergency.

What safety protocols are in place for participants in areas with potential risks?

Our organizers are thoroughly briefed by Amir Keinan, Masa’s Safety and Security Officer, on permissible activities and the specific conditions under which they can occur. Each trip, activity, and visit undergoes careful scrutiny and approval whenever feasible, ensuring the highest standards of safety. Through consistent communication with our programs, we maintain a detailed understanding of every fellow's location in Israel, allowing us to monitor their situation in real time. This knowledge encompasses their precise whereabouts, as well as their current health and mental state. In situations where assistance is needed, we are well-prepared to provide prompt support tailored to their individual needs and requests. This proactive approach ensures that our fellows receive comprehensive security and support, enhancing their overall safety and well-being throughout their time in Israel.

What is the evacuation plan and procedure for fellows in case of worsening situations?

As of the current situation, the Home Front Command has not announced any plans to close the airspace of the State of Israel. Additionally, apart from Ben Gurion Airport, there is now Ramon Airport situated in the southern part of the country, near the city of Eilat. In the event of a decision to do so, Ramon Airport will also be operational for international flights, further expanding the country's aviation options.

Is there a plan for armed security presence and safety protocols in specific areas?

We follow strict protocols for security deployments, both in emergencies and during routine hours, which are reviewed and approved by the Israel Police. Constant communication with the authorities ensures that we adhere to their instructions diligently. All sites necessitating security measures receive appropriate responses, including the deployment of security forces like the border guards and police officers in specific areas. Moreover, some locations, now, during the war, while not obligated, have taken additional precautions. These places have voluntarily increased the number of security guards to provide an extra layer of safety and assurance for the fellows.

Travel and Logistics:

What are the options for booking flights, especially if commercial airlines like El Al are fully booked?

Based on information received from Amir Keinan’s, Chief of Safety and Security of Masa, contacts in the Home Front Command, there is currently no indication of airspace closure in Israel. Although the airport operates in a limited capacity, it remains active, and if the need arises, the Ramon airport near the city of Eilat in the southern part of the country can also be opened. It is recommended to consider flights with Israeli airlines like El Al, Arkia, or Israir to relatively nearby destinations such as Cyprus or Greece, or major European cities like Paris, Frankfurt, or London. These flights are less frequently canceled, providing a more reliable travel option. In any case, it is strongly recommended to wait and search for an available flight rather than considering alternative solutions, such as attempting to cross the border on foot towards Jordan. Waiting for a suitable flight option is not only safer but also ensures a more organized and secure travel arrangement for everyone involved. People are advised to exercise patience and caution while exploring travel alternatives, prioritizing the safety and well-being of all individuals during these circumstances. However, if individuals decide to take their fellows out of the country, the situation is completely understood and accepted.

Is there assistance available for fellows traveling alone, ensuring their safety to the airport?

We recommend that if travel is necessary, take a private taxi or a program-organized shuttle.

How reliable is public transportation between cities, and are there alternative transportation suggestions?

For any requests related to public transportation, it is essential that you coordinate with the program director. They maintain direct communication with Amir to comprehend the safety protocols currently in place. In situations where travel is unavoidable, we strongly advise opting for private taxis or utilizing program-organized shuttles. These options not only enhance individual safety but also adhere to the established security guidelines, ensuring a secure and reliable means of transportation for all participants.

I read an article regarding the US diplomats leaving Israel, what about my fellow? Are they ok to stay?

We know that the situation in the region is tense and uncertain. Masa does not have the power to change or talk to other countries about their embassy decisions, but we are doing our best to keep our fellows safe and secure. Please know that we care deeply about our fellow’s well-being and happiness. If you or your child feel that staying in the program is not the right choice for you, we understand and respect your decision. Nothing is more important to us than our fellow’s safety and peace of mind.

Communication and Updates

How frequently and in what ways will Masa provide updates to parents and fellows about program shifts and plans?

Amir, our Chief Security and Safety Officer, receives daily briefings and is in constant communication with various security entities in Israel, including the army's home command, relevant government offices, and the Jewish Agency. Our landing page is continuously updated with crucial information, volunteer resources, and other essential details. To ensure everyone is well-informed, Amir and Ofer will consistently send out emails to both parents and fellows. If you haven't yet been added to this mailing list, kindly reach out to programs@masaisrael.org. By doing so, you can guarantee that fellows receive these timely updates and stay connected with the most current and relevant information.

Program-Specific Questions

What is the status of specific Masa programs?

The programs are continuing to operate as scheduled. For specific updates on any program, we recommend reaching out directly to the program director, as they possess the most current information. Amir, our Chief Security and Safety Officer, maintains constant communication with various security entities in Israel, including the army's Home Front Command, relevant government offices, and the Jewish Agency. He systematically gathers all pertinent information and ensures its orderly transmission to our program managers. These managers receive comprehensive procedures and instructions, enabling them to implement necessary safety measures and safeguards for all participants, ensuring their well-being throughout the duration of the programs.

What is the plan for Masa programs postponed until November 1st?

We kindly request you to directly contact your program director for the latest updates regarding the status and commencement dates of programs scheduled in the upcoming weeks. Your program directors are collaborating closely with Amir to guarantee the secure arrival of all fellows. By maintaining direct communication with them, you will receive the most accurate and timely information, ensuring a smooth and safe experience for everyone involved. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities, and we appreciate your cooperation in staying informed through your program directors.

Will I get a refund if my Fellow leaves their program early?

All program payments are coordinated through the program directly. Please reach out to the director or coordinator of yours/your Fellow’s program for more information on their refund policy.

Evacuation Procedures

What are the detailed procedures for evacuating fellows in case of an emergency situation?

If there is a case for an evacuation, the program director, will receive specific instructions from the Masa Chief Security Officer Amir Keinan. Amir maintains direct communication and instruction from Home Front Command, National Emergency Portal and other relevant government entities. The program directors will then guide the Fellows through the the appropriate steps as outlined by Amir.

How will potential chaos during evacuations be managed, and do fellows need to be on a State Department list for facilitation?

Amir remains in direct contact with every program director and manager, ensuring immediate updates in the event of any changes. It's crucial to note that he is not involved in the decisions made by various countries regarding their embassy representatives, their status, or the protocols of those countries towards their employees. However, as long as we follow the instructions provided by the Home Front Command and the army, we can respond effectively and appropriately, prioritizing the safety of our participants. Additionally, it's important to understand that the airport in Israel is operational, albeit in a limited capacity. According to information from the relevant ministries in the government and the Home Front Command, there are no plans to close the airspace in the State of Israel. Therefore, if you decide that you want to take your Fellow out of the country, we completely understand and respect your decision. Your choice will be supported, and we will assist you accordingly.

What is the red line that determines evacuation and program cancellation?

The red line that we defined for ourselves refers to our ability to provide a security response to all of our participants, if we reach this situation and realize that we are unable to do so, then we will act accordingly and freeze the continuation of our programs. If we reach a situation where the programs are temporarily closed and we are asked to assist in taking the participants out of the country in a centralized manner, then we will work with the Jewish Agency and all the relevant parties in order to do so.

Insurance and Health Concerns

What does the insurance cover, especially regarding hospital care in situations involving war or terrorism?

Insurance policies vary among organizers, each working with different companies. As a result, there might not be a uniform answer to inquiries about insurance coverage. The specifics of insurance policies, including coverage and terms, are typically determined by the respective organizers and their chosen insurance providers. Therefore, individuals may need to consult directly with their program organizers to obtain accurate and personalized information about their insurance coverage during the program.

General Support and Assistance

How can fellows get support for their mental health needs?

For valuable well-being resources, we encourage you to visit our landing page at masaisrael.org/well-being/. Additionally, you are welcome to join our Community Zoom sessions for support and connection that we hold on occasion. If you require immediate assistance from a professional, a hotline is available at *3201, offering help in multiple languages. We also want to share three main resources for mental health support:
  • Natal - National Trauma Center can be reached at 1800-363-363
  • Crossroads - Mental Health Support can be contacted at 02-624-6265
  • Eran - Mental Health Support is available at 1201.
To address anxiety related to the current situation, the Home Front Command has provided an explanation, which you can access at https://www.oref.org.il/12550-16414-en/Pakar.aspx. We hope these resources can offer valuable support during this time, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you need further assistance or information. Your well-being is our priority.

If I leave my program longer than the amount of vacation days allowed, can I rejoin my program? How will that affect my grant?

If you leave your program for more days than allotted you are welcomed back into your program without a problem – your spot in the program will not be jeopardized as we understand the unprecedented nature of these times. For additional days outside of the program, your grant will be adjusted based on your extended stay. Please reach out to your program directly as their financial policy will need to be followed. We want to help get our fellows back to their program when they are ready to do so.

How many vacation days are fellows given on their program?

According to the Masa By Laws: A program up to 6 months: 15 vacation days A program longer than 6 months: 30 vacation days

Extension of Vacation/Days Off Policy:

Unfortunately, at this moment, we are unable to extend the vacation/days off policy.

How are vacation days counted?

A vacation day does not include holidays (chaggim) or holiday eves (erev chag), or Friday and Saturdays

If you any more more questions, please fill out the form below:

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