ZAKA International Rescue Unit head Mati Goldstein and veteran ZAKA volunteer Dano Monkotovitz flew from Israel on Sunday to France to help in collecting remains and working to ensure a full Jewish burial for the victims of the Paris terror attacks.
“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 and collect the remains. 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,” said Goldstein.
Already at the supermarket scene were the Parisian volunteers of ZAKA — a Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victims Identification– who we trained only a year ago.
“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 three Jews were among the victims. The ZAKA volunteers worked on Monday with the local burial society to treat the bodies of the victims and prepare them to fly to Israel for burial.
The ZAKA International Rescue Unit was recognized in 2005 by the United Nations as an international humanitarian volunteer organization.