Founded in 1995, ZAKA is Israel’s largest and most dominant non-governmental rescue and recovery organization. The organization is comprised of over 3,000 volunteers around the world, who are on call to respond to terror attacks, natural disasters and accidents at any time.
ZAKA, which is a civilian volunteer organization, works in close cooperation with government emergency services and national security forces.
While ZAKA is at the forefront of search and rescue both in Israel and internationally, it also focuses on honoring the dead. In Hebrew we call this chesed shel emet, which translates to “true virtue.”. In Judaism, honoring the dead is considered the greatest act of kindness that can be performed, as the recipient can never repay the kindness.
ZAKA continuously works to find the best methods and strategies for emergency response and search and rescue. To date, ZAKA has formed several speciality units of highly trained volunteers including motorcycle, canine, jeep, jet ski, and divers units. The diversity of ZAKA units ensures the fastest and most professional response to each individual situation to which they are called. In 2005, ZAKA received United Nations recognition as an international humanitarian volunteer organization. ZAKA has since become a model for emergency services around the world, sharing best practices and serving as a light unto the nations in the darkest of times.