Lion’s share

November 16, 2017 by Lydia Weitzman
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When Israel’s ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who is currently in South Africa for a training program with tens of current and new ZAKA volunteers, took time out to go on safari, he got more than he bargained for in the jungle. 

Meshi-Zahav is attacked

At a certain point, visitors are allowed to walk with the lions, after a briefing on how to behave with them – do not bend over, do not kneel, do not stroke their heads, carry a stick that the lions are familiar with from feeding time, etc.


Meshi-Zahav was strolling along with two lionesses, when suddenly one of them turned his head round towards him. Then, with a sudden leap, she pounced on him, knocking him to the ground. The locals immediately ran to his defense, beat the lioness back with sticks and released Meshi-Zahav.



Yehuda Meshi-Zahav: “It was absolutely terrifying, for the first time in my life I felt real fear, and the power of the lioness. Out of instinct, I grabbed my kippa so that it would fly off. I remembered that I shouldn’t fall to the ground, otherwise the lion would attack me. But I could not stand up to sheer strength of the lion. By the grace of God, I was saved. All I needed was a tetanus injection at the local clinic to prevent any infection from the scratches. ”

And of course, when the lion attached me, I was reminded of the verse: ” Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?  (Genesis 49:9)

Do not be afraid o Israel, fear not, for are you not a lion’s cub.

And when a lion roars, who will not fear !!! (Meshi-Zahav singing with the lions)

ZAKA is a series of voluntary community emergency response teams in Israel, each operating in a police district (two in the Central District due to geographic considerations). These organizations are officially recognised by the government. The full name is “ZAKA – Identification, Extraction and Rescue – True Kindness” (Hebrew: זק”א – איתור חילוץ והצלה – חסד של אמת‎‎).

Members of ZAKA, most of whom are Orthodox Jews, assist ambulance crews, aid in the identification of the victims of terrorism, road accidents and other disasters, and where necessary gather body parts and spilled blood for proper burial. They also provide first aid and rescue services, and help with the search for missing persons and participate in international rescue and recovery operations.


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