Jewish Rescue Group Builds Interfaith Cooperation

Leaders of ZAKA, an Israeli medical and rescue organization best known for its work in the aftermath of suicide bombings, has launched a program that seeks to work with Muslim and Christian counterparts on emergency rescues.

ZAKA – who signed a declaration of its interfaith program on January 4 in Zichron Yaakov – reasons that because man is created in God’s image, people of all religions are obliged to “respect each and every person as he is, and to educate and transmit values and messages of peace.” On a practical level, this means that ZAKA will increase minority involvement — with outreach programs like a first aid course for Arab women — and increase the number of volunteers from Israel’s non-Jewish communities.

ZAKA’s chairman, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who himself was once a leader in the anti-Zionist fringes of the Haredi world, told the Forward that this new initiative represents a more sustainable form of interfaith relations than dialogue.


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