Shock and Dismay as Yehuda Meshi-Zahav exposed as sex offender

March 15, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The Israeli public received with shock and astonishment the testimonies alleging that Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder and chairman of the ZAKA Search and Rescue organization and a high-profile Israeli figure, committed sex offences of various degrees against boys, girls and women, over decades.

Yehuda Meshi Zahav, chairman of Israel’s ZAKA rescue unit outside sitting shivah for his mother in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, Jan. 19, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

An expose published by Haaretz on Thursday claimed that Meshi-Zahav, 61, who was recently nominated for the Israel Prize, “had a darker side,” and sexually assaulted boys, girls, and women, taking advantage of his position for decades with the knowledge of others in the Ultra-Orthodox community.

The police announced they have launched an inquiry into the allegations and were reexamining an investigation that was closed in 2013 in which similar allegations were raised against Meshi-Zahav.

Meshi-Zahav announced Friday he was stepping away from his position at ZAKA and was relinquishing the Israel Prize.

ZAKA’s management announced that it “has confidence in the official investigative authorities who will examine in the most professional way those matters that require investigation”.

“ZAKA’s mission extends beyond any one individual or consideration, and the organization will continue to carry out its work for the benefit of the citizens of Israel, the Jewish people and anyone in need with dedication and loyalty,” it added.

Meshi-Zahav denied the allegations and claimed they were a plot to defame him.

He said these allegations were previously put forward 18 years ago when he was honoured with lighting a torch at the official Israel Independence Day celebrations.

“Out of concern for the holy organization that I built with my two hands and a deep recognition of its essential nature for the fabric of society in our country, I draw the obvious conclusion from this great storm, even when these stories are unfounded, gossip and the settling of scores against me,” he stated, stepping down.

Several more accusers have come forward over the weekend.

The vast majority of Israel’s leadership, who are closely acquainted with Meshi-Zahav, have remained silent.

One of the shocking allegations made in the Haaretz article was the fact that Mesh-Zahav’s horrendous actions were well-known among the Haredi public, even by the Mishmarot Hatzniut modesty patrol, but no one did anything about them.

Latest report:

The police announced Sunday it has officially launched an investigation against Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder and chairman of the ZAKA Search and Rescue organization and a high-profile Israeli figure, who has been accused of committing sex offences of various degrees against boys, girls and women, over decades.

The investigation was assigned to the National Fraud Investigation Unit in Lahav 433.

An expose published by Haaretz on Thursday claimed that Meshi-Zahav, 61, who was recently nominated for the Israel Prize, “had a darker side,” and sexually assaulted boys, girls, and women, taking advantage of his position for decades with the knowledge of others in the Ultra-Orthodox community.

Several more accusers have come forward over the weekend.

Meshi-Zahav announced Friday he was stepping away from his position at ZAKA and was relinquishing the Israel Prize.

He denied the allegations and claimed they were a plot to defame him.

 

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