Knesset passes preliminary reading of bill to compensate Zaka volunteers for Oct. 7

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Zaka personnel remove bodies of Israeli civilians near the Gaza border, October 9, 2023 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Zaka personnel remove bodies of Israeli civilians near the Gaza border, October 9, 2023 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Knesset approves an amendment to the National Insurance Law to compensate volunteers from ZAKA, a group that handles human remains after terror attacks and other disasters, who worked to identify the victims of Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

The bill notes that as the attacks unfolded, “many volunteers of the Zaka organization came… and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with security forces and reserve officers in clearing the area of the bodies of the murdered, identifying victims and collecting materials that would help bring the murdered to burial as soon as possible.”

These volunteers should be “duly rewarded for their important and effective work alongside IDF soldiers and reservists,” it states.

ZAKA’s work during the attacks has come under scrutiny, with a recent Haaretz report alleging that the organization at times mishandled bodies and used the events to create promotional materials for a fundraising campaign. The organization has said it worked in full cooperation with all authorities and, since it relies on donations to function, took the opportunity to show the public the work it does.

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