ZAKA founder unconscious and on a respirator, with signs of life

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder of ZAKA, undergoes CPR, is hospitalized, after attempted suicide.

Chana Roberts , | updated: 11:49 AM

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Thursday morning said that the condition of Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder and former Chairman of ZAKA, has somewhat stabilized.

In a statement, the hospital said, "Yehuda Meshi-Zahav was brought to the trauma center at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, after several attempts at resuscitating him."

"Staff at Shaare Zedek conducted an initial examination and his condition was declared critical, with signs of some stabilization in his condition. He has been sent for continued examinations."

Shaare Zedek Director-General Professor Ofer Merin told media that Meshi-Zahav is "unconscious and on a respirator, with signs of life."

Earlier Thursday morning, it was reported that medics were attempting to resuscitate Meshi-Zahav after he attempted Thursday morning to end his life.

The attempted suicide occurred in Meshi-Zahav's home in Givat Ze'ev, less than one day before Channel 12 published an inquiry on him on its "Uvda" program.

Meshi-Zahav's son found his father and called emergency responders, who began attempting to resuscitate him, and transferred him to the hospital.

For years, Meshi-Zahav was respected figure in Israeli society, and even lit a torch on Mount Herzl 18 years ago.

In January this year, Meshi-Zahav lost both his parents to coronavirus.

In March, Meshi-Zahav, was selected for the Israel Prize in the field of Lifetime Achievement and Special Contribution to Society and the State award. Later that month, he was accused of sexual misconduct, and stepped down from his position as ZAKA's leader.

Police opened an investigation against Meshi-Zahav, after allegations came to light in a report published by Haaretz. In that report, six accusers -both male and female - claimed Meshi-Zahav sexually exploited or assaulted them as far back as the 1980s.

Some of the accusers were minors at the time of the alleged assaults, others were adults.

The accusations against Meshi-Zahav were known among the Eida Haharedit, which he belonged to in his youth, but were not made known to the public when he began public activities outside the Eida Haharedit.

Meshi-Zahav's attorney, Ephraim Damari, told Kan News that "Yehuda is convinced of one thing - that the media and public are putting him on trial for things he has no connection to. This is a very dangerous precedent."

"Trials are decided in court. Everything that is happening at the moment is getting in the way of a fair procedure. The media are the ones collecting evidence instead of the police and we don't know how reliable these sources are. The authorities should be allowed to do their job. My client, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, will fully cooperate with the police as soon as he's brought to trial. Once investigators present their evidence, he will provide his version of events."



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