ZAKA, the emergency response organization, has officially received consultative status with the United Nations, after three years of failed attempts.
The United Nation's NGO Committee meets twice each year in order to approve the list of organizations that receive consultative status. ZAKA filed for candidacy three years ago, but numerous anti-Israel officials at the UN ensured the request was denied.
Last year, the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Center was even accepted at the same meeting in which ZAKA's request was turned down.
Following diplomatic efforts by the Israeli delegation to the UN, and with support from Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, ZAKA received enough votes to pass the threshold.
This is even more meaningful as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan, Pakistan, and other unfriendly countries are members of the deciding committee.
ZAKA Director Yehuda Mashi Zehav praised the move, saying, "ZAKA is a moral and ethical organization, and its acceptance by the UN is a natural result of its activities around the world."
"Today, ZAKA works in a large number of country to save lives and ensure the dignity of disaster victims. Its acceptance by consensus is a joint product of a diplomatic effort with the UN delegation, under the leadership of Ambassador Danon."
Mati Goldstein, the head of ZAKA's international unit, added: "After years of operational work in Israel and around the world, ZAKA – along with the Israeli delegation to the UN, under the leadership with Ambassador Danny Danon – has reached the coveted status of a consultative body to the UN. With that, we will continue to save all those we can and to honor those we cannot."
The status of an official body in the UN gives the organization the right to take part in official discussions in all UN institutions. Consultative groups can influence the discussions in various committees.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) also praised the announcement, saying: "I congratulate the members of the Foreign Ministry and our embassy at the United Nations, under the leadership of Danny Danon, for ZAKA's success in being recognized as a consultative organization for the UN."
"I was happy to meet Yehuda Mashi Zehav, the organization' head, and to support their acceptance as much as possible," she added. "ZAKA is an important organization that does holy work every day of the year, and a group like this should certainly be part of an international body such as the UN."