Israeli emergency response organization ZAKA announced that it signed a deal with a counterpart organization in Dubai to support future collaborations in search and rescue missions, and humanitarian aid following international crises and natural disasters.
ZAKA was founded in 1995 and operates as a non-governmental search, rescue and recovery volunteer organization, with over 5,000 trained volunteers, many of them ultra-Orthodox Jews, in units across Israel. The group also operates overseas and has taken part in missions worldwide.
The new agreement with the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD) was signed in the UAE on Thursday with representatives from both parties. ZAKA was also formally accepted as an active participant in DIHAD 2021, the leading humanitarian aid and development event in the Middle East set to take place in March, the groups said.
“We see it as a great privilege, within the implementation of the Abraham Accords, to be the first Israeli humanitarian organization to sign an agreement of cooperation with DIHAD,” said ZAKA Chairman, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, in reference to the US-brokered agreement that normalized ties between Israel and the UAE this past summer.
“There is no greater expression of peace than volunteer units partnering for mutual humanitarian aid and assistance, as well as professional training in search, rescue, and recovery,” he added.
Mati Goldstein, head of Magen and ZAKA International Rescue Unit said “After several meetings, I am very happy about the professional relationship that has been created, which will certainly benefit everyone involved, considering the professional and operational experience of both ZAKA and DIHAD.”
Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, executive chairman of DIHAD Conference and Exhibition and the International Advisory Council – DISAB, said: “We are confident that ZAKA’s participation in DIHAD will be of great benefit due to their immense efforts and expertise in the field of humanitarian work and the training of specialized cadres in situations of disaster. We are proud of their joining the DIHAD Conference and Exhibition as the first institution participating in this humanitarian event from the State of Israel.”