ZAKA is not a name that is well-know outside Jewish circles. That’s because it is a UN-recognised Israeli humanitarian organisation. Not many people are interested in anything to do with Israel’s humanitarian activities – it doesn’t quite fit with their preconceptions, prejudices or bias.
So for the uninformed here goes: ZAKA is a volunteer rescue and recovery service. The organisation’s job is often a harrowing one, literally picking up the pieces after terrorist attacks, originally just in Israel.
It’s role expanded over time because it widened its remit to include disasters abroad to recover the bodies of Jews to ensure burial according to Jewish law and practice.
Now Zaka is using its experience to train voluntary groups around the world to help them cope with disasters (natural and man-made) and the aftermath of terrorist atacks.
Volunteers will be act as a first response unit assisting other professional on the scene of the incident.
ZAKA has already assisted after the Tsunami in Thailand, the bombing at Taba in Egypt, in Mumbai and in Namibia, a country with whom Israel does not even have diplomatic relations.
As UN NGO it can go anywhere in the world without invitation.
ZAKA assists with the living and dead of all nations regardless of race or religion. And although it specialises in Jewish victims it makes no distinctions.
Such is its work that it has even been put forward for a Nobel Peace Prize by a member of the UK parliament.