Yarah Yosef Kablan grew up in the picturesque Druze village of Beit Jann, located within the Meron nature reserve in northern Israel. Her father would take her out hiking, teaching her from an early age to respect and care for nature. But very little emphasis was placed on the proper and humane treatment of animals, and Yarah was always distressed to see how her community treated pets, especially dogs – who were seen primarily as watchdogs.
Yarah did whatever she could: learning about different animals, caring for them, and saving stray cats and dogs. Beit Jann didn’t have a single animal clinic, so Yarah decided to become a veterinarian.
Yarah’s parents are both educated: her father was the village’s first lawyer and her mother is a computer programmer. They encouraged their children to select professions based on their interests, and work hard to succeed. As a result, Yarah’s siblings hold diverse professions, including structural engineering, social work, teacher, industrial engineer, fitness instructor, and programmer.
When it came time to choose, Yarah decided to study animal science at a college in northern Israel. She also worked at an equine therapy ranch and a pet supply store, and she volunteered at animal sanctuaries and a non-profit dog adoption agency.
After graduating, Yarah volunteered at a youth center in her village. She held a series of sessions for high school students, teaching them what to do and who to contact if they encounter an injured animal, her decision to become vegan, and brought in a dog trainer who taught the teens how to properly care for, feed, and treat dogs. To this day, the participants are in touch with Yarah, asking her advice. They have saved 3 dogs, and a few have become vegans or vegetarians. Even more importantly, their attitudes have changed, and they behave more kindly towards animals.
Yarah also joined a local animal rights group that maintains contact over Whatsapp. This diverse group, which includes Druze, Muslims, Christians, and Jews – of all ages – notify each other and lend a helping hand to save animals. She was even featured in a documentary that was screened at the DocAviv Galilee festival, spotlighting her efforts to save a dog who’d been run over and suffered from a broken shoulder. She has also saved hedgehogs, rabbits, and birds, transferring them to professional hands.
Another passion project of Yarah’s is transferring carcasses to research facilities. This includes a marten whose body was fully intact (a rare specimen) that she kept in her freezer, much to her mother’s chagrin, until researchers travelled to Beit Jann to pick it up.
Last year, Yarah enrolled in the Hebrew University’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine and begin working towards her DVM degree (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).
"I am finally working towards realizing my dream. I never considered any other profession – I always knew I’d become a veterinarian."
She is looking forward to working on her capstone project, researching Leishmaniosis (leishmaniasis) in cats under the supervision of Prof. Gad Baneth, the Rybak-Pearson Chair in Veterinary Medicine. She’s also excited to begin the clinical years, when she’ll finally begin gaining hands-on experience saving animals.
Yarah is scheduled to graduate in three years. She plans to complete her internship at the Hebrew University’s Veterinary Hospital, gaining professional confidence and clinical experience before entering the field. Next, she hopes to join an existing clinic to gain even more experience. When she feels ready, she will return to Beit Jann and open her clinic.
"I’m here to help animals and change people’s attitudes towards them. I dream of opening an animal shelter and helping as many animals as I can."