Fraudsters raising funds in Australia for the firefighting efforts in Israel

November 29, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Israel search and rescue operation ZAKA has issued a warning about two people fundraising in the Australian Jewish community claiming that they are raising money for the fire-fighting effort in Israel by ZAKA Search and Rescue are frauds.

Yossi Fraenke the Deputy Commander of the Jerusalem Region for ZAKA, Operations Officer of the International Units and Head of Australia Region has issued a statement saying: “It has come to our attention that there are two people fundraising in the name of the ZAKA organisation. We would like to inform the public that they are not part of our neither national, nor international organization, nor do they represent ZAKA or Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. They are a small organisation operating within the city of Tel Aviv ONLY using the name of ZAKA.
Photo: Roi Levi

Photo: Roi Levi

We understand they are claiming to raise funds for the fire disaster, they were not even there to be able to help. The pictures being shown is from the National ZAKA organisation under the leadership of Rabbi Yehuda Meshi-Zahav.

If you would like to donate please be in contact with us so we can notify you where you can drop off donations. Alternatively, you can donate online at our website.

While it is true that ZAKA volunteers were involved in this effort  the people asking for money are NOT representing ZAKA Search and Rescue and the monies are not going to that charitable volunteer organisation.”
Photo: Roi Levi

Photo: Roi Levi

As soon as the scale of the Haifa  bushfires became apparent, ZAKA sent volunteers from its special units to aid in the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents in the path of the fire. Within an hour, over forty ZAKA jeeps and dozens of volunteers were in the city and ZAKA Special Units commander Haim Outmezgine began directing the ZAKA volunteer effort, from a swiftly-erected operations room in the field.

The ZAKA hotline received dozens of calls for help in evacuating and assisting local residents. When this task was completed, the volunteers then gave back-up support to the firefighting crews, identifying and dousing areas with water to ensure that the flames would not reignite in the fierce winds.

During his visit to the area, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav in the field and asked him to pass on his gratitude and appreciation to the ZAKA volunteers.

ZAKA Special Units commander Haim Outmezgine: “It was a miracle that no-one was seriously hurt. Entire streets were in flames. The residents managed to escape before the flames took hold. During the course of the day, the ZAKA operations room received dozens of calls from residents asking for help and we were able to offer a swift response. Later in the day, we received a call for help about an elderly couple who lived in the worst-hit area but had not made contact. Our volunteers immediately went to their apartment building and were able to evacuate them to safe ground.

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav: “Sadly, we have strong memories of the Carmel Forest fire. We took the decision to send in our special units to assist in the immediate evacuation of the residents in order to prevent a similar tragedy. The emergency and firefighting forces are working with the utmost professionalism.”

ZAKA Search and Rescue is currently in the process of setting up an organisation in Australia that will allow members of the Jewish community to donate with the relevant tax deductions. In the meantime, it is possible to donate via the website

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