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Disgraced ZAKA Founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav Dies
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, co-founder of the ZAKA emergency response organization. (Ilan Costica/Creative Commons)

Disgraced ZAKA Founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav Dies

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the co-founder of the world-renowned emergency response organization ZAKA who has been accused by dozens of women and men of committing sexual offenses over several decades, has died, more than a year after he attempted to commit suicide. Meshi-Zahav died on Wednesday at a hospital in Jerusalem at the age of 62, after his condition had deteriorated in the last several days.

Meshi-Zahav stepped down from his position as head of ZAKA in March 2021, after the allegations against him were made public in an article published in Haaretz. The allegations came after he was announced as the recipient of the prestigious Israel Prize for lifetime achievement. He relinquished the prize.

He attempted to take his life hours before the Israeli investigative program Uvda was to screen a report with more allegations against him and as news circulated that he was about to be arrested in a number of the cases.

He was scheduled to be buried on Wednesday at Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives Cemetery in a private ceremony.

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