Representatives from the ZAKA International Rescue Unit participated in a recent two-day United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, sharing best practices with participants from around the world.
The summit, the first of its kind, held under the banner of international humanitarian cooperation for a better world, was headed by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, with the participation of presidents, and representatives of hundreds of aid organizations from all over the world, who came to participate in a professional conference and make an attempt “to make the world a better place.”
ZAKA’s participation in the prestigious summit came in the wake of the recent granting of consultative status by the United Nations to the international humanitarian volunteer body. The delegation included Mati Goldstein, commander of ZAKA’s International Rescue Unit, and veteran ZAKA volunteer Shimon Grossman.
“The inter-organizational dialogue serves as a unique fabric to connect with other countries, and removes many barriers that exist within official bodies. I am delighted that our program was so highly praised, and that we not only save lives and honor the dead, but also removes barriers,” Goldstein remarked.
The ZAKA representatives participated, among other events, in the State of Israel’s official event headed by Kobi Wimisberg, director of Strategy and Cooperation, the National Emergency Management Authority, Israel Ministry of Defense.
Indeed, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Agency for International Development Cooperation MASHAV expressed its willingness to help anywhere in the world where its aid is needed.
Unfortunately, ZAKA representatives were often attacked by pro-Palestinian representatives. Once they understood, however, that ZAKA does not discriminate according to race, religion, creed or gender, and that ZAKA volunteers have participated in dozens of incidents around the world, including cooperating with Arab organizations, representatives of Arab television stations invited the ZAKA volunteers for interviews on the topic of “rescue teams that unite all population sectors.”
“The summit on an international scale places ZAKA as one of the leading organizations in the field,” Grossman said. “I feel that we had a special mission here on behalf of the residents of Israel and world Jewry.”
“The dedication of our volunteers in Israel and overseas is beyond words, and is now receiving the proper international expression,” stated ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav. “Our worldwide volunteer deployment can provide solutions for any emergency incident or routine situations, and most importantly of all, contributes to cooperative efforts and friendship not only among brothers but can also bring nations closer, even those who are usually considered enemies.”
(With files from ZAKA)
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