A festive ceremony took place yesterday (April 22) in Jerusalem to lay the cornerstone of the ZAKA World Headquarters, which will provide the volunteer search and rescue organization with a purpose-built headquarters that will serve as the nerve center for ZAKA’s humanitarian operations in Israel and around the world.

The ceremony was held with the participation of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, the Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, the Minister of Construction and Housing Maj.-Gen. (ret) Yoav Galant, Ministry of Construction and Housing Director-General Hagai Reznik, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yosef Deutsch, members of the city council and ZAKA Chairman and Founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav and rabbis and volunteers from the organization. In addition, Eduardo and Jovita Cojab, major donors to the ZAKA World Headquarters building, came specially from Mexico to attend the ceremony.

Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel, praised the Cojab family, noting that “ZAKA is an organization whose essence is caring for everyone, not only in life but also after death. This headquarters, that will be built here in East Jerusalem, will be a source of light around the world. We hope that you will not have a lot of work, but if you do, may you be able to help others in need and distress. “

Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem praised the many and varied activities of ZAKA, “but, inherent in the act of establishing these headquarters, is the act of saving souls, not only for the people of Israel but for all the nations of the world. Therefore, your work is doubly important. “

Minister of Housing and Construction Maj.-Gen.(ret) Yoav Galant said, “The world stands upon three things: upon Torah, upon divine service, and upon acts of kindness. ZAKA volunteers are involved in the highest form of chesed, as the dead are unable to repay acts of kindness. When I look at the work you are doing in the organization, and these are things that I am very familiar from my time as a Major General in the army as an aide to Arik Sharon, I know that this requires an emotional strength that is not available to everyone. In contrast to other rescue organizations, I hope that you have the least amount of work. “

Galant continued: “The State of Israel will no longer be able to live with and accept terror against Jews. We will pursue anyone wherever he is, even at the farthest corner of the world, and bring him alive to court or dead, for burial in a cemetery.

At the end of his speech, Galant praised the activities of ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav, for his sacred work on behalf of the people of Israel.

Meshi-Zahav thanked the donors, Eduardo and Jovita Cojab, who came especially from Mexico to lay the cornerstone of the global headquarters to be established in memory of Elias Kochav Parka ben Frieda z”l. The ceremony concluded with the signing of the charter and the laying of the cornerstone by the Rabbis and dignitaries.