Zaka Recovers Body of Jewish Canadian Buried in Haiti Hotel


haiti-jewAfter a month of continuous recovery work to locate the body of the missing Canadian Jewish businessman Alexander (Shmuel) Bitton who was believed buried under the rubble of the Montana Hotel, ZAKA volunteers have recovered a body with the passport of the missing Canadian in his clothes.

Rotating teams of ZAKA volunteers worked over the last month at the site of the Montana Hotel together with an American recovery delegation sent to the site to retrieve the bodies of 17 Americans known to have been in the hotel at the time of its collapse. Thanks to the coordination of the Israeli Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, it had been agreed that the ZAKA volunteers, experienced in forensics, would be responsible for body identification. Tens of bodies were retrieved from the rubble over the last month but it was only at the end of last week (Thursday) that the body of Shmuel Bitton was discovered. The body was transferred to the United Nations facility near the Port-au-Prince airport for positive forensic identification of the body.

“At ZAKA, we attach the highest importance to our sacred work,” noted ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav . “Our mission is to make the utmost efforts – even if it is at the other end of the world – to ensure a full Jewish burial.”

The ZAKA International Rescue Unit – the first Israeli delegation to arrive in Haiti after the earthquake in January 2010 – rescued many survivors from the rubble in the first few days after the quake and saved the lives of scores more. In addition to the ZAKA delegation working in rescue and recovery, other ZAKA volunteers were attached to the IDF Home Front Command delegation, working in the field hospital.

{Noam Newscenter}