The UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations has unanimously granted advisory status to the ZAKA rescue and recovery organization. This status gives the volunteer organization the right to take part in official UN discussions and conferences that are open for NGOs.
“It is a great honor for the State of Israel in general and the ZAKA organization and its volunteers in particular that the UN recognizes and appreciates the unique sacred mission that we do, regardless of religion, race or creed,” said ZAKA Founder and Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. “The professional, humanitarian efforts of ZAKA around the globe, combined with the complex and sensitive diplomatic efforts of the UN delegation, have resulted in the official UN recognition of ZAKA.”
Meshi-Zahav said ZAKA will expand its international search, rescue and recovery missions, working in continued close cooperation with international emergency forces.
In 2005, ZAKA was recognized by the UN as an international volunteer humanitarian organization. But the Jerusalem-based NGO requested it be accepted as an advisory body with official observer status.
“ZAKA is an organization that reflects Israel’s moral values and its acceptance by the UN represents conclusive proof to the world of this fact. ZAKA received the status it deserves,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
ZAKA will also serve as an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC), which, with its 54 member states, works to promote health, economic and social issues.
“ZAKA is an important organization that does holy work every day of the year, and a group like this should certainly be part of an international body such as the UN,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
“After years of working at terror sites and at mass casualty incidents in Israel and offering assistance to all who need, ZAKA has received a unique status that will allow us to continue our sacred work around the world,” said Mati Goldstein, head of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit.