Israel Police said on Thursday it got ahold of a suicide note supposedly belonging to Yehuda Meshi-Zahav — a disgraced former rescue chief, who is facing allegations of sexual assault, rape and other abuse — after he attempted to take his own life.
Meshi-Zahav, reportedly, tried to hang himself in the early morning hours Thursday. He was later found by his son, who was not at home at the time of the incident. His son called Magen David Adam emergency services, who arrived at the scene and evacuated him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where his now hospitalized in critical condition.
At noon, a draft of a suicide note allegedly written by Meshi-Zahav began circulating in media, however, his family and attorney claimed it was fake. The lawyer stated that he would file a defamation suit for the distribution of the forged letter.
Meshi-Zahav's attorney said that he met with his client the day before the incident and did not recognize any indications the veteran first responder was planning to take his own life. According to him, Meshi-Zahav intended to fight to prove his innocence.
Allegations against Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who co-founded the ZAKA emergency response organization, emerged last month following an investigation by Haaretz newspaper. According to allegations, which date back to 1980s, he took advantage of his status, power, money and even the organization he heads to sexually assault women and children.
Oshrat Mualem, one of the first responders who arrived at the scene, said the picture at the house was "shocking".
"I got a call about a suicide and left immediately. I arrived at the house with two other paramedics. We opened the door, went upstairs, to the balcony, and saw what we saw. We managed to resuscitate him, then I went up to his wife and sat down with her."
Shaare Zedek said the former ZAKA chairman's condition has stabilized since his arrival at the medical center.
Hospital chief Dr. Ofer Merin assessed that Meshi-Zahav may have suffered brain damage due to extended lack of oxygen but the scope of the damage will only become clear in the coming days.
Meshi-Zahav, who last month won the Israel Prize life achievement award for his contributions to Israeli society, was investigated in the early 2010s on suspicion of sexual assault, but the investigation was closed due to lack of evidence when his accuser refused to file a formal complaint.