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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ZAKA’

ZAKA Rescued Body of Abandoned Jewish Soldier Who Died for Ukraine

Friday, March 6th, 2015

It took five weeks, a break in the battle and special permission from the Ukrainian army, but poor Yevgeni Yatsina was finally rescued by his Jewish brethren.

At least his body was, thanks to a faithful friend who just wouldn’t give up, and ZAKA, the organization that is there when nothing else can be done.

Yatsina was a Jewish solider killed five weeks earlier, in the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine government. His friend hadn’t heard from him and started to wonder why.

A week ago on Wednesday, volunteers from the ZAKA emergency first response organization (some of whom came from Israel) rushed to the area to begin a search when permission was received to enter the military zone.

Until that point, Yatsina’s body remained on the battlefield. Rescue and recovery personnel had been forbidden to retrieve his remains.

Last Friday – at last – Yatsina was taken from the battle zone, ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav told media.

For quite a while, no one even knew the soldier was dead. His friend was really the first to figure it out; it was he who asked ZAKA Sharon regional commander Israel Godlevski to try and track him down.

“There is a ZAKA unit in Ukraine,” said Meshi-Zahav. “We tried to turn to the Ukrainian army and get initial information about [his] fate…

“At first they didn’t even admit that he is dead. Then they said he was killed in battle and that his body was left lying there.”

For two weeks ZAKA sought permission to remove the soldier’s body but were denied permission on the grounds he was in a battle zone. They were told “no one can even approach the area” at that point.

Jewish law does not permit any Jew to endanger his life or that of another for the sake of burying the dead. But eventually the Ukraine army finally allowed ZAKA to enter the area under its protection, and when there was some calm in the area.

“The entire operation took place at night in complete darkness, with constant exchanges of fire between the sides in the background,” Meshi-Zahav said. “We tried to locate the body in the darkness according to information we received from the army. After searching for about an hour and a half, it was found.

“At first we weren’t certain that it was him, as it was impossible to carry out basic identification on the ground. Only after moving several hundred meters away from the area, we were able to confirm that this was the Jewish soldier we were looking for,” he added.

ZAKA commander in Ukraine Rabbi Yosef Asman, is the son of Ukraine Chief Rabbi Moshe Asman and is in constant communication with the military. Although he personally was ready to give up more than once, Asman said Meshi-Zahav’s persistence won out, ensuring “the respectable and emotional ending when we gave late soldier Yevgeni Yatsina a Jewish burial.”

Last Friday, Yatsina was laid to rest in a Jewish cemetery in Kiev. May his soul find the peace he sought in life, and his memory be for a blessing.

Israel’s ZAKA Volunteers Join Paris Colleagues at Terror Site

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Two days following the deadly terror attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris, veteran ZAKA volunteers from Israel traveled to France to join their volunteer colleagues in the Paris Zaka unit. On Sunday evening, January 11, ZAKA International Rescue Unit head Mati Goldstein and veteran ZAKA volunteer Dano Monkotovitz immediately flew out to Paris to the site of the supermarket terror attack that left four Jewish hostages dead.

Volunteers from ZAKA Paris, under the command of Rabbi Tzemach (Serge) Ben Naim, had already been working at the scene for several hours, collecting remains and working to ensure a full Jewish burial for the victims; Yoav Hattab, 21, Yohan Cohen, 22, Philippe Braham, and Francois-Michel Saada.

Goldstein noted that the Israeli ZAKA volunteers were able to get special permission from the Attorney General of France to enter the attack scene and help collect remains. “After complex discussions and outreach of ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, together with the Foreign Ministry and Jewish community leaders in Paris, we were able to get permission from the Attorney General of France to enter the scene of the attack,” he said.

“We went to the supermarket late at night under the security of the French police and we worked to gather all the findings at the scene,” added Goldstein.

The Parisian volunteers of ZAKA were trained one year ago at the initiative of the President of the Consistoire in France, Dr. Joel Mergui. “They were very professional in their response, despite the pain that comes with personal acquaintance with the victims,” described Goldstein.

ZAKA Paris commander Rabbi Ben Naim, who also serves as the President of the Jewish Burial Society (Chevrah Kadisha) further commented that “this is a very difficult attack for France as a whole and the Jewish community in particular.”

“At first, the French police did not understand why it is important for us to enter the scene and collect the findings of the victims in order to give them a proper Jewish burial. However, after we explained the religious significance to them, we received the necessary authorization,” explained Rabbi Ben Naim.

“What moved me is that when we arrived on the scene at the supermarket, there were hundreds of French Jews, religious and secular, standing there,” he said.

“When the crowd saw the ZAKA team go into the supermarket to do the holy work, they showed their appreciation, especially when they saw Jews from France and Israel coming together to perform true virtue – the holiest work of Chessed Shel Emet – with the blood of their brothers which was spilled like water,” added Rabbi Ben Naim.

“It was a very difficult scene inside the supermarket. It was as if time stood still, with shopping carts full of food in preparation for Shabbat in the cashier aisles and deliveries waiting to be sent to customers. But the floor was covered in the blood of the victims,” said Paris ZAKA volunteer Avraham Weinberg.

The ZAKA volunteers also worked at the scene of the terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices where, it has been discovered, there were three Jews among the victims.

On Monday, January 12, the ZAKA volunteers worked with the local burial society to treat the bodies of the victims and prepare them to fly to Israel for burial.

Also on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Paris supermarket, Hyper Cacher, to pay respects to the families of the victims, killed by Islamist extremist Amedy Coulibaly.

ZAKA in Har Nof Massacre [video]

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

ZAKA crews work to collect and clean up the blood from the Har Nof Massacre today.

Amid Crisis, Ukrainian Jewish Community Receives Rescue Efforts Training

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine – The current political crisis in Ukraine has propelled its Jewish community to request emergency training from Israeli emergency response organizations, United Hatzalah and ZAKA.

As the Ukrainian crisis developed during the past three months of anti-government protests, Ukrainian rabbis appealed for help in emergency response training. Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, the Ukrainian Chief Rabbi, and Rabbi Hillel Cohen of the Ukrainian Hatzalah made the request to ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav and United Hatzalah President Eli Beer. The men mobilized their organizations to work together to train the local team in only a matter of days.

United Hatzalah and ZAKA, in cooperation with the Isralife Foundation have worked together to train Jewish volunteers of the local Kiev Hatzalah. The Ukrainian participants received training in the latest emergency, rescue and search techniques in order to respond and provide aid to mass casualty emergencies should the crisis in the country escalate. The Ukrainian participants have also been trained to provide first aid in mass casualty emergency situations, and include protocols for CPR, treating suffocation, injuries and diseases.

Ukraine Training 2 “We were pleased to come to the assistance of the Ukrainian community during their time of need and provide the emergency training their volunteers need to handle local emergencies in an efficient and timely manner,” said Beer. “Both ZAKA and United Hatzalah each offered unique services and perspectives on emergency response and we were happy we could work together to help our fellow Jews.” “We are grateful to both organizations for responding so quickly and generously to help our community in this time of need. The events surrounding us require our community to be prepared with the latest training and techniques so we can respond to emergencies and help our people quickly in these dangerous times,” said Rabbis Azman and Cohen in a joint statement. In the Ukraine, much of the Jewish population is located in the country’s capital, Kiev while other sizable communities reside in Lvov, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa. Since the early 1990s, 340,000 Ukrainian Jews have immigrated to Israel.

In related news, a Ukrainian man was treated in Israel yesterday, Wednesday, March 5, after suffering severed damage to his left forearm from shrapnel in Kiev’s Independence Square during riots. Referred to as Alexander S., he was the first Ukrainian to arrive to Israel for treatment, following approval by Dr. Valeria Bivitzchik from Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center, who recently volunteered with the Ukrainian Red Cross and arranged for injured citizens to be flown to Israel for medical treatment. Alexander was brought to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot where he will undergo surgery to reconstruct the bones and repair the soft issue in his arm under the care of hospital’s surgical and orthopedic departments in the coming days.

Rabbi in Critical Condition in Israel after Attack in Russia

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Chabad emissary Rabbi Ovadia Isakov is in critical condition in Rabin Medical Center in Israel, where he was flown on a private emergency flight after being shot in the chest by one or more unidentified assailant around 1 a.m. Thursday.

He is in serious to critical in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, formerly known as Bellinson Hospital and located in Petach Tikvah, adjacent to Tel Aviv.

Russian Jews financed the flight, reportedly on an Israeli Air Force plane, after doctors in Russia determined he was able to be flown to Israel. He was accompanied by a three-man medical team, consisting of a surgeon, paramedic and critical care physician, Chabad reported.

Rabbi Isakov was seriously wounded when he was shot at short range after he stepped out of his car near his home in the Russian city of Derbent, located in the predominantly Muslim republic of Dagestan in southeastern Russia.

The Jewish community assumes that the attack was a hate crime, and Russian police say the motive probably was anti-Semitic.

“Religious activity of Isakov is one of the attempted murder theories of the detectives,” police said.

Extremists “have put themselves not only outside of any religion but also apart from humankind; their only goal is to kill innocent people, chiefly those who promote eternal values, morals and spirituality, in this world,” Rabbi Lazar said in a statement quoted by Interfax.

“There is not and can be no compromise with terrorists: the state is not only entitled to but also obliged to use all means available against them. Several well-known muftis in the Caucasus, who professed moderate Islam and who called for inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace, have died at the hands of such thugs.”

Six years ago, the rabbi’s family home was attached while he, his wife and nine-month-old baby were in their bedroom.

The ZAKA rescue organization, Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and the local Jewish community worked to bring the rabbi to Israel.

Please keep saying Tehillim for Ovadia ben Zehava Chaya for a full and speedy recovery.

IDF, ZAKA and US Army Conduct Joint Search and Rescue Exercises

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Indiana National Guard Soldiers with the 19th CERFP (CBRNE [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons] Enhanced Response Force Package), soldiers and marines who specialize in disaster response, the IDF’s Search and Rescue Unit, part of the Home Front Command, and ZAKA (the Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victim Identification) participated in a joint training exercise, which focused on international collaboration in dealing with mass destruction events. These events may be the result of an earthquake or the falling of missiles, both of which require search and rescue missions. One hundred and twenty participants from all units trained for two days, recovering hundreds of “live” and “dead” dummies which were buried among the ruins on the campus grounds at the Jerusalem College of Engineering. The training entailed the use of advanced technology, search dogs from the IDF’s Oketz canine unit, and the practice of strategic cooperation under pressure.

The IDF and ZAKA have been holding joint exercises with the National Guard for several years. These operations are conducted primarily with the objective of sharing techniques and professional knowledge, and creating a better work dynamic between American and Israeli forces. In the event of a massive missile attack on Israel or a destructive earthquake, the Israeli Home Front Command will not be able to cope on its own, and the American Military SAR units will be called in to assist with rescue efforts. The training is conducted with these potential events in mind.

The Indiana National guard said that as part of a small-unit exchange, soldiers with the Indiana National Guard’s 19th CERFP trained alongside the Israelis to learn their search-and-extraction methods, garnered from multiple real-world events. The members of the National Guard took a tour of Jerusalem prior to the training, learning the history of the city.

ZAKA, established in 1995, is a non-governmental lifesaving, rescue and recovery unit, a volunteer based organization with about 1,500 members. ZAKA has an international division which cooperates with law enforcement, military and emergency services across the globe. They participated in rescue missions after the tsunami in Thailand, the Columbia shuttle crash, Hurricane Katrina, and recently, the earthquake in Japan. ZAKA specializes in the identification of victims of disasters, and held a special briefing for the American forces, explaining the fundamentals of Jewish law in regard to recovery and burial of victims. “We explained to the Americans that each victim is treated in accordance with his religion,” said Chaim Otmazgin, commander of ZAKA’s special units. “We are guided by the principles of respecting each individual, even after his death, without regard to his or her race, gender or nationality.” Matti Goldstein, spokesman for ZAKA’s international division, told Tazpit, “I welcome the opportunity for commanders and members of these units to participate in such a large scale exercise. It enhances the operational level immeasurably.” The Americans shared some of their identification and registration procedures with ZAKA.

The Home Front Command has been conducting a variety of exercises in the past months on the JCE campus, which has been declared a partially-closed military zone. The exercises are conducted over an area of about 4,000 square meters, among the ruins of old dorms which have been torn down with the intent of building a new campus. Deputy College President and CEO, Shlomzion Lulu, said that she was glad to facilitate these exercises on the JCE campus, providing these lifesaving units with an opportunity to further improve their skills. During the exercise, JCE students presented refreshments to the training soldiers.

Kiev Attack Victim to Be Treated in Israel

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Aharon Alexander Gorshonov, 25, the Jewish man who was attacked after he had left a seder at a synagogue in Kiev, will be flown to Israel for treatment.

Gorshonov was found on Sunday night in an area near the synagogue where attacks by neo-Nazi groups have occurred in the past, nearly a full day after the attack, with serious head injuries believed to have been inflicted by glass bottles.

He was in critical condition in a Kiev hospital after surgery. He also had bruises on his upper body.

ZAKA announced that he would be flown to Israel on Tuesday night, accompanied by ZAKA volunteers and a special medical team that flew in earlier Tuesday from Israel.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor in a statement Monday called on Ukrainian officials to hunt down the attackers. He called them neo-Nazis.

“This attempted murder by neo-Nazis in Kiev, just weeks after the Islamist murders in Toulouse, by groups who have nothing in common except for a visceral hatred of Jews, is a phenomenon that European leaders have to stamp out now,” Kantor said. “We call on European leaders to act swiftly to strengthen legislation, bolster education and increase intelligence sharing to prevent what could become a tsunami of hate and violence against the Jews of Europe.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kiev-attack-victim-to-be-treated-in-israel/2012/04/11/

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