When 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.
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.
“It was absolutely terrifying, for the first time in my life I felt real fear, and the power of the lioness,” Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said “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.”
Meshi-Zahav was taken to a local clinic for a tetanus injection to prevent any infection from the scratches.