Two days after ZAKA volunteers attempted to save the life of Mary Jane Gardner, the British Bible student who was killed in the Jerusalem bomb attack, the British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould presented ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav with an underwater scooter to be used by the specialist ZAKA Divers Unit in life-saving search and rescue missions at sea. During the presentation, which took place Friday (25.3.11) at the Ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan, ZAKA Divers Unit head Haim Outmezgine and ZAKA volunteer diver Roi Rachamim gave a demonstration of the underwater scooter in the swimming pool of the Ambassador’s residence.
British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould: “The British Embassy is glad to be supporting ZAKA. They do amazing work, helping people regardless of their background, race or religion. The awful events of this week have reminded us of the importance of what they do, and how necessary their work is.”
ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav: “When we arranged the presentation of this generous gift from the British Embassy to the ZAKA Divers Unit, we never imagined that it would take place just 48 hours after ZAKA volunteers tried to save the life of a British national, at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem. This underwater scooter, which allows the ZAKA divers to move faster through the water, will certainly help us in our humanitarian mission to save lives.”
The ZAKA Divers Unit is one of four specialist search and rescue units (Divers, Jet-Ski, Jeeps and Canine units), which provide the UN-recognized humanitarian volunteer organization with enhanced search and rescue abilities. Staffed by 268 professional and amateur divers split into four regional units, the volunteers receive specialist training, four times a year, in search and rescue and life-saving techniques. The mainly secular volunteers include ex-Navy commanders, 10 women and Israeli Arabs. ZAKA supplements the divers’ own equipment with specialist tools for search and rescue, including oxygen tanks, ropes, flares, underwater lights and the underwater scooter – all provided by donations from supporters around the world.
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 to respond to any terror attack, disaster or accident immediately, professionally and with the necessary equipment. The UN-recognized, Israel-based ZAKA International Rescue Unit, with representation in North and South America, Europe, Russia and the Ukraine and the Far East, has assisted at natural disasters (e.g. Haiti, New Orleans, Thailand); plane crashes (e.g. USA, Mexico) and terror attacks (e.g. Mumbai, Mombasa, Istanbul).