Park East Synagogue, New York

01 December 2016

Secretary-General's remarks at reception in honour of ZAKA International Rescue Unit [as prepared for delivery]

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Your Excellency Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Your Excellency Ms. Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States, Mr. Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Chairman and Founder of ZAKA, Mr. David Rose, Chief Officer of the International Units of ZAKA, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here with my good friend Rabbi Schneier and other partners to recognize the outstanding work of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit.
I have good memories of my meeting with ZAKA this past June in Tel Aviv.  I want to again commend your invaluable work in emergency settings across the world.
From earthquakes to typhoons and tsunamis, ZAKA provides effective disaster assistance across the world.
In the aftermath of horrific terrorist attacks, ZAKA is a reassuring presence.
Most recently, ZAKA has been working with partners from many countries in response to the fires in Israel.
ZAKA has shown through partnerships with Palestinians the great value of people-to-people activities in bringing people together even at times of sharp disagreements.
Your commitment to treating all victims, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity, also sends a powerful message.
The United Nations is pleased to have you as a partner in our humanitarian operations and in our wider efforts to reduce disaster risk and improve disaster preparedness.
Thank you for participating in this year’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.  We will count on you to help us achieve the transformations envisaged in the Agenda for Humanity that I put forward on that occasion. 
I am also encouraged that earlier this year, the UN Economic and Social Council decided to grant consultative status to ZAKA.  We look forward to your enhanced engagement in our discussions and deliberations. 
Finally, let me express my appreciation for the recognition you have bestowed on me.  Thank you for this expression of support for the work of the United Nations. 
In that spirt, allow me to quote a Jewish proverb that relates directly to our shared goals: “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world”.
We look forward to continued strong partnership in easing pain and helping people in need.
Thank you.