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Report: Woman claims ZAKA co-founder sexually assaulted her 4 years ago

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

Yehuda Meshi Zahav, Chairman Israel's Zaka rescue unit speaks at a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021.
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90Yehuda Meshi Zahav, Chairman Israel's Zaka rescue unit speaks at a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021.

Numerous allegations spanning decades have surfaced against Yehuda Meshi-Zahav over the last week

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A woman has reportedly come forward to accuse ZAKA co-founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav of sexually assaulted four years ago at a Jerusalem hotel, according to Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 13 on Wednesday.

Police reportedly received the information earlier this month and may bolster their investigation into Meshi-Zahav, who has been accused of committing similar offenses spanning back at least three decades. 

According to The Times of Israel, an official complaint has not yet been filed with the police. 

Channel 13 has also reported that police suspect senior ZAKA officials and top figures in the ultra-Orthodox community have been aware of similar allegations against Meshi-Zahav for decades and worked to keep it from public view. 

The affair first surfaced last week when Israeli daily Haaretz published an investigative report revealing a torrent of damning allegations made against Meshi-Zahav by both men and women, some of whom were minors at the time of the alleged events.

Meshi-Zahav, a prominent figure within the ultra-Orthodox community, reportedly used his social position and status in ZAKA, an emergency medical response service, to sexually exploit teens and minors since the 80s.

Meshi-Zahav vociferously denies the allegations and has told Hebrew media outlets that he intends to clear his name. 

“I never committed illegal acts… There were consenting relations with different women, but nothing was coerced and nothing was against the law.”

Israel Police launched a probe into the matter on Sunday, but with some cases going back decades ago, the statutes of limitation may pose legal obstacles for investigators in their probe.

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