Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Thursday with ZAKA President Eyal Mashiach, ZAKA CEO Dubi Weissenstern and ZAKA commanders and volunteers.
The Prime Minister heard from the ZAKA members – who come from all sections of Israeli society: Jews, Arabs, religious and secular – powerful testimony about their work locating and identifying the bodies of those who were murdered in the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, which was carried out under fire. The ZAKA members described the horrific acts perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th: Tying up family members and setting them on fire, murdering small children, verifying kills, brutally raping women and more.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also heard from ZAKA volunteers about their public diplomacy activity in Israel and the world, and about their deep sense of mission in carrying out their sacred tasks.
"You have given direct testimony of the most terrible horrors that have been perpetrated against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The only difference between what happened in the Holocaust and what happened in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip is the ability; if they could have, they would have slaughtered us all,” Netanyahu told the volunteers.
“I visited the Bedouin Desert Patrol Unit in which Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Christians, fight shoulder-to-shoulder. The Bedouin officer told me that like you he went there: 'The first thing that I saw on the way to the highway was the decapitated body of a woman, and I understand who we were facing.' You saw the whole range of these horrors. First of all, I want to thank you for the strength of spirit to see such things and yet continue. I hope that you are taking care of yourselves; that is also important. Of course, you are also doing this sacred work and when you talk among yourselves and to the outside world, you must speak out. These are powerful stories and we are in a major fight,” he added.
“This fight is not about to end at the moment. It will end when it ends. We will eliminate them; we have no other possibility. Otherwise we will be unable to live here in this area. But we need to buy time, which we also buy by turning to world leaders and to public opinion. You have an important role in influencing public opinion, which also influences leaders. We are in a war; it will continue. The war is not only to take care of the 1,400 people and perhaps more whom we lost – men and women, children and infants and things which are impossible to describe, but also to give us the maneuvering room,” the Prime Minister told the ZAKA volunteers.
“I would like to tell you that the entire nation and all citizens of Israel appreciate what you are doing. We always appreciate it, but today how much more so because the horrors are much greater, and you need to draw strength from this appreciation. This is the true expression of the unity of Israel. I want to tell you I am very impressed and full of appreciation. I thank you on behalf of all citizens of Israel," he concluded.