The Jerusalem-based ZAKA International Rescue Unit announced this week that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its counterparts in the United Arab Emirates.

The Israeli humanitarian organization, made up of volunteers who lead search, rescue and recovery missions at home and around the world, said that it signed the MoU with the organizing committee of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD).

The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday at DIHAD headquarters in Dubai. According to ZAKA, the MoU “supports future collaborations between the two in the humanitarian field in international crises and disasters, and ensures the provision of all the necessary support to those affected, regardless of color, race, gender, religion or political opinions.”

ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, whose delegation was among the passengers that arrived on Thursday in Tel Aviv aboard the historic first direct commercial flight from Dubai, told JNS, “When the water cannon sprayed the plane at Ben-Gurion International Airport—the traditional welcome for a historic flight—we felt that we were making history, twice in one day.”

“We see it as a great privilege, within the implementation of the Abraham Accords, to be the first Israeli humanitarian organization to sign a cooperation agreement with DIHAD. There is no greater expression of peace than volunteer units partnering for mutual humanitarian aid and assistance, as well as professional training in search, rescue and recovery,” he said.

Meshi-Zahav is to head a ZAKA delegation in March to participate in DIHAD 2021, the leading humanitarian aid and development event in the Middle East, which will take place in Dubai. DIHAD is an annual event that brings together more than 15,000 participants from more than 650 international organizations. This will mark the first time an Israeli group has attended the event in its 17 years of existence.

Calling this turn of events a “historic step,” DIHAD executive chairman Abdul Salam al-Madani stated, “We are confident that ZAKA’s participation in DIHAD will be of great benefit due to their immense efforts and expertise in the field of humanitarian work and the training of specialized cadres in situations of disaster. We are proud of their joining the DIHAD Conference and Exhibition as the first institution participating in this humanitarian event from the State of Israel.”

JNS

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