Chareidi Zaka Volunteers Complete First Training Course For Chareidi Divers In Zaka Diving Unit


chareidi-zaka1For the first time, eight Chareidi ZAKA volunteers have recently completed a two week specialist diving, rescue and recovery training course for the ZAKA Diving Unit.  To date, the ZAKA Diving Unit, which has been in existence for about 6 years, is comprised of 248 mainly secular professional divers (men and women) who volunteer their time to assist in search and rescue missions at sea and in bodies of water.

Volunteers in the ZAKA Divers Unit, who have received this specialist rescue and emergency first aid training, carry various rescue and medical equipment to assist them in their mission. Traditionally, the ZAKA Diving Unit included professional volunteers such as former Israel Navy personnel, and others who have already received diving certification.

This past Rosh Hashana, during traditional celebrations in Uman, Ukraine, a young 19 year-old boy drowned in a river while ZAKA volunteers stood by on the side, helpless. Baraleh Yakobovitch, 24, who was part of the ZAKA team on the scene, said that moment instilled in him the desire to learn to be a rescue diver. “None of us knew how to dive, and it was very deep, so we had to just stand there until someone came who could help…When I came back to Israel, I told myself I have to take part in the diving course so I know that if there is another case like this, I can help.”

In recent years, volunteers in the ZAKA Diving Unit have played a key role in search missions such as in the case of Rose Pizem (2008) in the Yarkon and Beatrice and Denise Rodov, whose bodies were dismembered and thrown into the Alexander River (2009). Chareidi ZAKA volunteers who lacked the necessary training to help with underwater searches during these cases, were part of the recent diving course. Due to its success, another course is expected to open in the near future.

Founded in 1995 by Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, ZAKA is Israel’s dominant non-governmental lifesaving, rescue and recovery organization, with over 1500 volunteers deployed around the country. On call 24/7, volunteers are ready to respond to any terror attack, disaster or accident immediately, professionally and with the necessary equipment. With specialist units spread throughout the country, the ZAKA volunteers are equipped to reach any emergency incident as quickly as possible, thereby saving precious time and lives. The UN-recognized ZAKA International Rescue Unit has assisted at natural disasters, plane crashes and terror attacks throughout the world.

{Yair Israel}