13 February 2012


20 Shevat 5772

I don't know why these things still continue to shock me.

Jewish rescue group builds interfaith cooperation

Leaders of ZAKA, an Israeli medical and rescue organization best known for its work in the aftermath of suicide bombings, has launched a program that seeks to work with Muslim and Christian counterparts on emergency rescues.

I might buy into that except for the reasons they give:

With its new declaration, ZAKA resolves to capitalize on the interfaith aspect of its work and “have ZAKA volunteers as opinion formers within their communities, working to encourage co-existence, helping and assisting others and instilling values of peace and co-existence.”
This article references The Forward where it goes a bit further:

...ZAKA already has 350 volunteers from Israel’s minority religions, who serve alongside the organization’s 1,150 Haredi volunteers and 350 non-Haredi Jews. When many of them gathered for the January interfaith declaration, the warm embraces and intimate conversations among them were testament to strong friendships formed over shared — and sometimes harrowing — experiences. Haredim chaired the proceedings, the Christians who provided the hall for the evening did the (strictly kosher) catering and a Muslim volunteer took photographs. “It’s the same God and the same values that make us volunteer together,” said Salach Badir, a volunteer from the Arab city of Kfar Kassem, which is located near Tel Aviv.

...“with more and more volunteers working together, the barriers will come down, people’s outlook on life changes, and we become more united,....

"We become more united" not just with goyim, but with enemy peoples who contest not only our right to our homeland, but who represent religions that compete with the Torah for G-d's revealed Truth. And therein lies the danger. If the other communities want to observe how ZAKA operates and create their own parallel system for their own people, well and good, until Mashiach comes and either they repent or they are destroyed, but this "new declaration" is absurd and spiritually lethal.

Personally, I think it is good practice to be wary of anything that includes the word "new" in its title. What do you think? (You may choose up to two options.)


  1. "Co-existence" does not lead to the Geulah despite many unfortunately believing otherwise, it’s also sad that Jews are always expected to be the ones to compromise on the very things we’ve paid with our lives for during in the past, the Jewish people did not outlast empires and the predations of others just to fade away in a whimper by becoming one with the rest of the world and rejecting the Sinai covenant on the last stretch of the Exile.

    “Co-existence” (along with “Golden Age”) also conjures up images that have no basis in reality, not now nor when Jews supposedly “had it good” under Islamic rule, where they were 3rd class citizens at best and protected like cattle at worse, while either way being used by muslims as powerless scapegoats so that the conquered xtian peoples would focus their hatred on the Jews instead of the invading muslims.

  2. It is disgusting and utterly sick to question the need to arrange proper and sensitive kavod for every meis of every belief and ethnicity. Jewish, Muslim and Xian volunteers join ZAKA because they wish to help and for no other motive. Enlisting the help of nonjewish volunteers is particularly significant in regards to the Asians who are working in the country, and whose traditions we are not familiar with. I assume you genius would know how to care for a deceased of the Buddhist or the Hindu faith? The family, if it can be contacted at all, is overseas and speaks a different language. What about people who die without documents and whose religion is not immediately apparent to us who are not well-learned in their beliefs?
    Proper and sensitive respect for our fellow humans who have prematurely encountered death in a foreign country where they were trying to make a living - is first of all what discriminate humans from apes and animals - and is key to good relations with authorities in foreign countries, where it happens that Jewish people pass away without a will and where procedures forbidden by halacha are usual.
    I will consider your article with more sympathy when you argue for all nonjewish personnel to be expelled from hospitals, universities, and in fact, from all jewish workplaces, as it is much easier to become friends in such a setting. I will also have more sympathy when you and your family will volunteer for all those jobs that none of us enjoys applying for, and which are left to nonjewish workers, whose bodies, just like the Jews', we try to recompose when they pass away in terror attacks or in gruesome work or traffic accidents and no family is there for them. Sure I hope should it happen to me or my loved ones in a foreign country, someone, whatever their religion, would make an effort to respect my body according to halacha.

  3. Anonymous, you need to re-read what I wrote.

    If the other communities want to observe how ZAKA operates and create their own parallel systems for their own people, well and good,....

    But, the article suggests that this is not the purpose of the initiative (working to encourage co-existence... the barriers will come down, people’s outlook on life changes, and we become more united,....) and that was my complaint.

    No one here is advocating discrimination. We are calling for an adherence to Torah law which calls for separation between Jews and Gentiles.

    And you are right. We should not be mixing in the workplace either. A religious Jewish woman should under no circumstances have to suffer the 'care' of an Arab male nurse in an Israeli hospital, but that is the current reality.

    According to the Torah, Gentiles really should not be living here at all, except under very special and specific circumstances.