Tel Aviv School Officials Ignored Warning About Flash-Flooding Ahead Of Trip; Arrests Made

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Police on Friday arrested the head of the Bnei Zion pre-military academy and the group’s tour guide on suspicion of negligent homicide, after a trip arranged by the Tel Aviv-based institution turned deadly as a result of heavy rains – leaving 10 dead and others critically injured.

The counselor, who was released on Shabbos morning, said she had consulted with her father, the deputy commander of the Aravah rescue unit, before the trip last Thursday, and he advised “don’t take a chance”.

According to the motzei Shabbos news, the guide passed on her father’s warning to the heads of the preparatory program, but they chose not to accept it and proceeded with the trip as planned..

[WE WILL DIE: Student In Flood Tragedy Texted Friend Yesterday About Her Fears]

Her lawyer, Shachar Mandelman, claimed that “the counselor warned that there was a risk that the trip would take place in the weather after consulting her father, but at the end of the day she did not decide if there would be a trip or not.”

The instructor, 25, herself a former student of the academy school, claimed under interrogation that she warned authorities and asked for the trip to be canceled due to possible floods.

The instructor was released to house arrest when investigators were satisfied her culpability for the scandal was lesser than those of another instructor and the school’s principal, both of whom were arrested as well.

The arrest of the head of Bnei Zion Yuval Kahan and instructor Aviv Bardichev, 27, was extended by five additional days.

Accompanying the investigation into the disaster was buck-passing between the education and defense ministries regarding responsibility for similar trips. The Education Ministry thus announced Saturday it will form a joint committee with the Defense Ministry and the Joint Council of Pre-Military Academies with the intention of regulating the academies’ outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded to accusations against the Education Ministry about the disaster in the Aravah, saying that he had talked on Friday with Defense Minister Lieberman and agreed to set up a team to regulate all foreign activities in the pre-military preparatory programs.

In his Facebook account, the minister wrote that “the State of Israel suffered an unbearable disaster. The heart is broken. Ella, Mayan, Agam, Tzur, Gali, Romi, Ilan, Shani, Adi and Yael – are no longer with us. Each and every one of them had designs, dreams, loves, and the enthusiasm of those who lived before him.”

“Each and every one of them intended to dedicate an entire year of his life beyond the years of service in the IDF – to contribute more to our country, and they were about to end their matriculation exams with excitement for the start of independent life. The best sons and daughters of Israeli society, and they are not.”

Bennett referred to the accusations against the Education Ministry on the unauthorized trip, saying that the ministry, with all its districts, is working to accompany the families, noting that on the night of the event most of the relevant schools were opened to receive the members and the students. “We will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks,” he added.

Bennet later said that he knew the “wonderful pre-military preparatory programs, the instructors and the apprentices.” Young people who want to change, to correct what is broken, the essence of Zionism, “he says,” are young people who love the country, who raise their heads and volunteer for the community.

“The tragedy is terrible, and it must not have happened,” he said, adding that “every student sent by his parents to the preparatory program must return home safely.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

2 COMMENTS

  1. This shocking piece of news has made me cry.They knew,and yet they sent these kids to be killed???Where is the concern,the fear of what might happen to them??Keeping up with that so important scheduled trip was more important than having them alive????This is a sad and black day for Israel to see the heads of students act so casual and cold and non-caring,and now there are ten very sad grieving families that will bear the fruits of their cruelty.
    I appreciate that the Israeli police is taking this horrible crime with extreme seriousness,and a Baruch Dayan Emmett to all of the ten grieving families.

  2. The arrest of the head of Bnei Zion Yuval Kahan and instructor Aviv Bardichev, 27, was extended by five additional days. After yesterday’s Kerias haTorah of Acharei-Mos in the Diaspora, these heads should simply be tossed over the cliff like the Azozel, into a raging river.