ZAKA~Chesed Shel Emet (True Virtue)
|David Rawlings & ZAKA Team|
About a year ago Israel Vision.TV created a promotional video for ZAKA (a Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victims Identification). David Rawlings spent time following and filming ZAKA in action and interviewed some of their volunteers. When the earthquake stuck in Haiti David was with the team at Ben Gurion airport as they prepared to leave. You can watch these touching interviews on the Israel Vision.TV website. These amazing men speak of their experiences and the strength that it takes to carefully sift through every disaster to insure that no human remains–no matter how small–are left behind. There are also links you can follow to the ZAKA home page.
|Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Founder of ZAKA|
In a special Knesset gathering in November, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented an award to ZAKA Rescue and Recovery Organization founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav for raising awareness and promoting road safety. The moment was noteworthy not just because it acknowledged ZAKA’s role in responding to thousands of car accidents and encouraging safer driving, but also because it underlined the warm relationship between Israel’s secular officials and Meshi-Zahav, an ultra-Orthodox (haredi) former anti-Zionist agitator. Yehuda Meshi-Zahav evolved from an anti-Zionist firebrand in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood into the founder of ZAKA, a unique rescue and recovery organization.
Arrested 34 Times for Anti-Zionist Agitation
Free Access to Palestinian hospitals
|ZAKA in Haiti|
Today, some 1,500 Jewish, Muslim and Druze ZAKA volunteers carry out lifesaving, rescue and recovery operations in Israel and around the world, garnering numerous awards including a citation from New York City for assistance following 9/11. The organization was one of those from Israel that was active in Haiti after the earthquake. Awareness of ZAKA’s mission has grown in Israel and abroad.
I have no strikes or vacations
|ZAKA at Burned Bus in Carmel Fire|
The Carmel Forest fire earlier at the beginning of December was a case in point. ZAKA volunteers rappelled down a hill to reach the site of the burned bus carrying prison guards and sift through the charred wreckage to uncover all human remains before the victims were buried. Another team worked to identify the charred bodies. “The people of Israel owe you much gratitude for the holy work that you have been doing,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai told them. While awaiting better times with perfect faith, Meshi-Zahav remains dedicated to his twin missions of disaster response and bettering society. “In the same way that enemies don’t distinguish between different types of Jews, we too must be for everyone,” he says. “Our guiding principle is our belief that all men were made in the image of God.”