Jerusalem - The ZAKA team which flew to Ethiopia in the hope of finding the remains of Shimon Re’em Bitton and Avraham Matzliah, the two Israelis who were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that took the lives of the crew and all 157 passengers from countries around the world, has been frustrated by the intransigence of the Ethiopian authorities.

Because so many days already passed without the ZAKA team being allowed into what has become a restricted area, President Reuven Rivlin called Ethiopian President Sahle Work Zawde on Friday to explain the importance in the Jewish religion of burying the remains of deceased Jewish people in hallowed ground.

He said that ZAKA works not only to find and identify the remains of Jews, but also of anyone who died under catastrophic circumstances.

Rivlin explained the distress of the bereaved families who were waiting for closure, so that they could bury whatever may be found of their loved ones.

He said that he understood Ethiopia’s responsibility under the circumstances and the reluctance of Ethiopia to allow foreign investigators to traverse the site until the Ethiopian investigators had completed their task, but asked that this be sped up so that the Israelis could undertake their search.

“The State of Israel will go anywhere in the world in order to bring home its loved ones,” said Rivlin. Read more at JPost