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True Virtue (Chesed Shel Emet)
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ZAKA volunteer at the site of the Kfar Aza attack

Regional Units

True virtue (Chesed Shel Emet) – this is the highly visible and emotionally distressing work for which ZAKA is best known. The ultimate act of loving kindness and altruism (performing a deed for which the recipient cannot express gratitude), true virtue is the very hallmark and foundation of ZAKA.

The ZAKA volunteers are professionally trained in all aspects of their work related to identification of the deceased, preserving the honour of the dead and ensuring a full and proper Jewish burial. ZAKA is the only organisation authorized by the Israel Police to handle any and every incident of sudden death, be it traffic accidents, murder, suicide, terror attacks, mass casualty incidents or natural disasters.

ZAKA volunteers attend professional training courses given in conjunction with the Israel Police and their Forensics Department, studying everything related to identifying the deceased: fingerprints; DNA testing; dental testing; forensics and Jewish law.

ZAKA volunteers learn and practice body identification in accordance with the latest professional verification techniques and Jewish law. In the course of their work, the volunteers use the most advanced equipment in order to identify the bodies and body parts beyond any doubt, thereby avoiding any halachic uncertainty and unnecessary distress.

By virtue of their unique experience, ZAKA volunteers also operate in similar circumstances outside of Israel, helping Jews or Israelis wherever they may be caught up in natural disasters or mass casualty incidents.

Minorities Unit

This volunteer unit is comprised of members of Israel’s minorities, representatives of the country’s different communities, especially the Druses in the north and the Bedouins in the south. The training course is prepared and given in close cooperation with the relevant religious and lay leaders.

The community leaders have expressed satisfaction with this initiative that allows the Minorities Unit the opportunity to deal with their deceased according to their laws and customs relating to a religious burial.

Funeral Arrangements and Flights

Assistance with every aspect related to honouring the dead in Israel and overseas; assistance in finding a solution to bureaucratic problems, approvals, arranging flights home and transferring bodies between countries.

Legal Department

Lawyers assist families on a volunteer basis in their hour of need in every case that involves honouring the dead. This could include legal action to prevent autopsies on the deceased and insulting the honour of the dead, filing injunctions with the courts, cutting through bureaucracy and dealing with the relevant legal authorities in order to shorten the time before the funeral. All the lawyers volunteering in the ZAKA Legal Department are specialists who have gained much experience in dealing with these matters.

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ZAKA volunteers at Dimona terror attack 4.2.08
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