meshi zahav 88.
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Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the haredi founder and head of the ZAKA rescue and evacuation service that recently was put into receivership, confirmed on Wednesday that "someone" in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new National Responsibility Party invited him to join.
Meshi-Zahav, who was previously prominent in the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit and who still has many family members in Mea She'arim who hold virulent anti-Zionist beliefs, told The Jerusalem Post that he did not give an answer and would think about it.
"I don't know what I want to do," said Meshi-Zahav, who continues to dress in the costume of the Eda Haredit, with ritual fringes over a while shirt and the ends of black breeches tucked into long, black socks. "Our work is something that all Israeli s, of whatever views, can identify with."
In the early 1980s, Meshi-Zahav organized sometimes violent demonstrations against the police over Shabbat traffic on the road to the Ramot quarter. He shocked his family and former community when he agreed to li ght a beacon in honor of Israel's Independence Day a few years ago on Mount Herzl, considered the symbol of Zionism so hated by the Eda Haredit because it countered their view that forming a Jewish state contravened God's will that the Jews should first wait for the arrival of the Messiah.
But the death and bloodshed of the intifada shocked Meshi-Zahav, who lives in the more normative haredi Sanhedria Murhevet quarter in Jerusalem. Gathering together other haredi men who were trained to rescue survivors and collect body parts and blood, he established ZAKA as a voluntary organization that deals with remains from road accidents and other unnatural deaths as well.
The drop in terror attacks and, according to some, exaggerated spending on equipment and veh icles led to the still operative organization to file for bankruptcy.
Mesh-Zahav told the Post he regards himself as "a Zionist," and said it was important for him to "be involved" in Israeli society, but would not say whether he would join Sharon's party. "We'll see," he concluded..
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