ZAKA emergency responders faced a dilemma on Friday following the shooting attack at the Temple Mount, which left two Druze policemen dead, not only shocked the Holy Land but also raised unique questions of Jewish law after three terrorists were killed on the holy site.
The removal of the bodies from that holy place lead to a unique challenge for ZAKA’s religious volunteers. Jews who ascend the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism, are subject to a number of ritual strictures. They must first spiritually purify themselves before entering, and they are forbidden to wear shoes. Additionally, there are religious opinions that Jews should not enter the holy site at all.
With the approval of the ZAKA Rabbinical Council, the volunteers went beforehand to a Mikvah and took their shoes off before ascending the Temple Mount which is the former site of two Jewish Temples where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are now located.
ZAKA Chairman Rabbi Yehuda Meshi-Zahav explained, “This is the greatness of ZAKA — our volunteers treat the deceased regardless of religion, race or nationality. As it is written: Man was created in the image of God. It is not written Jew or Gentile, rather that every man was created in His image.”
“There are incidents, like today, that lead to the absurd situation where we deal with the bodies of the victims and the terrorists, albeit with teeth gritted,” he continued. “In terms of the halacha(Jewish law), the bodies of terrorists and murderers must also be handled with respect and sent for burial. The only difference we make is with the use of black body bags for the murderers, rather than the white ZAKA body bags for the victims.”
Today, ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav visited the family of the slain of the murdered Druze police officers, Staff Sgt. Maj. Ha’il Satawi, 30, a new father to a three-week-old son, and Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shnaan, 22