ZAKA Chairman Receives Civilian Award for Promoting Road Safety


zakaIn a special Knesset gathering on Monday to mark National Road Safety Awareness Day, Road Safety Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav with a Civilian Award for his role, as head of the ZAKA Rescue and Recovery volunteer organization, in raising awareness and promoting safety on the roads of Israel.

This year’s awareness day focused on the problem of distracted driving, with an emphasis on talking on mobile phones or even sending text messages while driving – a factor which, according to a recent report by a former Traffic Court judge causes 80 percent of all traffic accidents and, according to National Road Safety Authority studies quadruples the chances of being involved in an accident.

“It is precisely for these reasons that the ZAKA Rescue and Recovery organization, which witnesses first-hand, day in day out, the carnage and senseless loss of life on the roads, is involved in road safety awareness campaigns throughout the year,” explains Meshi-Zahav. “Our 1500 volunteers attend to over 21,000 incidents a year, most of which are related to road accidents.”

ZAKA launches many road safety awareness campaigns throughout the year, aimed at different target audiences according to the time of year. These include families traveling to Mount Meron for the Lag ba’Omer festivities, children returning to school after the long summer vacation and young drivers on their way to/from evening entertainment. The campaigns are run in cooperation with the Israel Police, the National Road Safety Authority and commercial bodies such as health funds and car rental companies who subsidize the cost of the campaigns. In addition, ZAKA runs several other accident prevention campaigns throughout the year, related to safety in the home, safe hiking etc.)

In one road safety campaign, the ultra-Orthodox ZAKA volunteers took their sobering message to the Tel Aviv port, one of the most popular night-time entertainment areas in the city. They brought with them a ZAKA ambulance with a wrecked car in tow, carrying a banner that read “In a car like this, four young people, all drunk, were killed this week on their way home from a night out.”

{Noam Newscenter}