Following last week’s tragic flash floods in southern Israel, which led to the deaths of ten young adults R”L, the head of the mechina which hosted the school trip, Yuval Kahan, was released on bail. He was taken into custody when it was realized the school authorized the outing despite ominous inclement weather warnings. One of the teachers, Aviv Berdichev was also released from custody. They were both sent to house arrest for five days.
Earlier last week, police decided to elevate their level of suspicion regarding Berdichev, who is likely to be charged with causing death by negligence – a suspicion now attributed only to Kahan.
It should be noted that the difference between the two suspicions is the mental element required to prove the offense: Killing refers to the suspect indifference or recklessness to the results, while causing death by negligence is attributed to the suspect who could not expect the results. According to suspicions, the guide Berdichev, who is represented by attorney Tzion Amir, decided to take the trip to Nachal Tzafit despite the warnings.
According to a report by the News, the suspicions against the head of Bnei Tzion’s Tel Aviv mechina high school, Yuval Kahan, and the senior instructor, Aviv Berdichev, have been confirmed. They were arrested during an investigation into the flood disaster in Nachal Tzafit.
According to the report, testimonies gathered indicate that the two tried to find out the weather forecast in the area of the trip and receive permission to go on the trip. They were told conditions were dangerous, yet they decided to move ahead as planned regardless.
For example, according to the report, testimony was given by members of the forecasting company to which the preparatory committee approached, indicating that no permit had been given for the trip, and that it was “dangerous to travel in this area.” It should be recalled that earlier this week it was reported that the father of the guide, who serves as deputy commander of the Aravah rescue unit, recommended not to travel around the area.
According to the report, another source who warned the two was an officer in the Israel Air Force’s forecasting unit, himself a graduate of the Mechina. According to his testimony, the head of the preparatory program approached him earlier this week and inquired about the weather conditions expected during the trip. The officer replied that all he knew was that the precipitation was going to be worse for the afternoon. Even on the morning of the trip, a guide from the group approached him, and hours before the disaster he was interested in the situation on the ground. The officer, he said, warned that the rains were expected to increase, but the trip continued as planned.
Persons close to Kahan told the news “Reports are not projecting the reality of the situation”.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)