In the wake of the tragic terror attack Friday at the kosher supermarket in Paris in which four French Jews were murdered, the ZAKA Rescue and Recovery organization sent a team of volunteers from Israel to lead the efforts to clear the terror scene in accordance with Jewish law.
The team from Israel, which consists of ZAKA International Rescue Unit head Mati Goldstein and veteran ZAKA volunteer Dano Monkotovitz, arrived Sunday evening.
Goldstein and Monkotovitz are leading the efforts at the scene, working alongside French volunteers from the ZAKA International Rescue Unit and in cooperation with the local emergency forces and Jewish organizations, in the emotional and difficult task.
“It was a very difficult scene inside the supermarket,” Paris ZAKA volunteer Avraham Weinberg said. “It was as if time stood still, with shopping carts full of food in preparation for Shabbat in the cashier aisles and deliveries waiting to be sent to customers. But the floor was covered in the blood of the victims. ”
On Monday the ZAKA volunteers are working with the local burial society to treat the bodies of the victims and prepare them to fly to Israel for burial.
The ZAKA volunteers also worked at the scene of the terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices where, it has been discovered, there were three Jews among the victims.
The French volunteers have all graduated from courses led by Israeli ZAKA personnel, giving them the tools and halachic knowledge to deal with the deadly aftermath of terror attacks and mass casualty incidents.
Goldstein and Monkotovitz have years of experience in dealing with such incidents around the world, including, among others, terror in Mumbai Chabad House and Toulouse and natural disasters such as Haiti and Japan.
The ZAKA International Rescue Unit was recognized in 2005 by the United Nations as an international humanitarian volunteer organization.