Zaka founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav during a rescue mission in Thailand.. (photo credit:REUTERS)
JPost By: Stell Korin-Lieber/Globes
Yehuda Meshi Zahav, who a short while ago was the operations officer of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit extremist group, abandoned this ideology and now works on the front lines of saving Israeli lives.
ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav, a former haredi anti-Zionist militant, now takes aim at some in the Ultra-Orthodox leadership.
ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav describes sparingly and with restraint the things he and thousands of his volunteers at ZAKA do. ZAKA is a haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) organization that rescues, identifies, and traces Jewish disaster victims in Israel and all over the world under sometimes virtually impossible conditions. Such a mission requires love of one’s fellow man, great empathy, faith, and a belief that good will come of it. It requires Zahav, a man with impeccable curly white payess (sidecurls).
Two months ago, following a four-year struggle, ZAKA won recognition as an official UN consultant and observer. The eventual decision was taken unanimously by a special UN committee composed of representatives of 19 countries, including Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, Cuba, Turkey, China, Russia, Pakistan, Uruguay, Burundi, Greece, the US, and Israel.
“Globes”: Did Iran and Pakistan also vote in favor?
Zahav: “There was no opposition, not even one country. We sent our representative, who met with every one of the committee members. The Iranians asked us if the report that ZAKA treats Jews first and Arabs later at terrorist events was true. We said that they hadn’t read it correctly. We treat the victim first, and then the murderer, regardless of nationality. They realized this, and voted in favor.”