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Police open sex abuse investigation into ZAKA head

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, co-founder of ZAKA, speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, co-founder of ZAKA, speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Police has opened an investigation into Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the co-founder and chairman of the ZAKA volunteer emergency, over allegations of sex abuse.

Meshi-Zahav was initially accused Thursday of sexual assault, rape, and abuse by six people in a report by the Haaretz daily. The allegations against Meshi-Zahav were made by both men and women, some of whom were minors at the time of the alleged events. Additional testimonies have since emerged, though it remains unclear if any are within the statute of limitations.

Meshi-Zahav is a prominent figure in the ultra-Orthodox community, with ZAKA a major part of Israel’s emergency response services at home and abroad. Earlier this month, he was announced as a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, but by Friday, said he was giving up the award.

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