Zaka emergency group cofounder awarded Israel Prize for contribution to society

One of the co-founders of the ZAKA emergency response organization has been declared a winner of the Israel Prize life achievement award for his contributions to Israeli society.

Education Ministry Yoav Gallant announces that the prize will go to Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who for more than 30 years has headed the group he helped found in the 1990s.

In addition to Meshi-Zahav, the prize was also awarded to former Foreign Ministry director-general Joseph Chechnover, for his work in and out of the civil service.

Meshi-Zahav recently made headlines when his parents both died of COVID-19 within days of each other, less than a month after his younger brother died of another cause.

The prize committee says in a statement that Meshi-Zahav has made an “outstanding” contribution to advancing assistance at disaster events and creating unity in Israeli society while having “a sense of mission and a true belief in the need to build bridges and have a dialogue.”