TWO BUS CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED: R’ Yosef Kahlani Z”L, Mrs Haley Sevitz-Varenberg A”H


The levaya of one of the victims of the bus collision in central Israel near Ben-Gurion airport on Sunday night, R’ Yosef Kahlani, z”l, 79, took place on Monday afternoon in Petach Tikva.

R’ Kahlani, a resident of Petach Tikvah, left a grieving wife, three daughters and 14 grandchildren. He lived right near the 947 bus stop and would travel often to Jerusalem.

His oldest daughter, Iris, told Channel 12 News: I wasn’t able to part from him like I should have. A concrete block killed my father and I didn’t manage to part from him.”

“He was a tzaddik, a man of mitzvos who helped everyone. A wonderful father and grandfather with a huge heart. It’s a tremendous loss for the family. My mother is broken.”

Earlier on Monday, Iris said on Army Radio: “An unnecessary death on the first night of Chanukah. It’s a horrible tragedy.”

In reference to the arrest of the bus driver, she said: “It doesn’t matter anymore who’s guilty. It won’t bring back my father. He was a wonderful man who was always there when someone needed him. Such a wonderful father and grandfather. He went through a lot but never once complained. He was 79 but felt like 49.”

“I’m not feeling anger right now – only terrible sadness. I don’t know what happened there. Another accident and another accident and more destroyed families. I need to be strong for my mother now.”

Alexander Leibman, the bus driver involved in the collision, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by negligence after being questioned by the police about the circumstances of the accident.

Leibman, a 44-year old resident of Haifa, was trapped in his seat and moderately injured in the accident and was interrogated in Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva. He was brought to the Rishon L’Tzion Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning for a hearing and the court extended his arrest for another four days. He will then be released to house arrest.

Another victim of the crash was Haley Sevitz-Varenberg, a young Anglo resident of Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood, according to The Jerusalem Post. She is survived by her husband Eli Varenberg. Her Levaya will be held on Tuesday, December 24 at 12:30 p.m. at Beit Hesped Kehilat Yerushalayim Har Hamenuchos.

Two other women were also killed in the accident but their names have not yet been released to the public.

Leibman was at the wheel of an Egged 947 on its way from Jerusalem to Haifa on Highway 40 when the bus inexplicably veered from its route and crashed into a concrete reinforced bus stop at the Bedek Junction. The roof of the bus stop collapsed, crushing four people to death, and partially crushing the bus.

A 19-year old woman and a 67-year old woman were evacuated in serious condition to the Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer. Twelve people in light to moderate condition were evacuated to the Beilinson, Assaf Horefeh and Sharon hospitals and have since been released.

A total of 345 people have been killed on the roads of Israel in the year 2019, according to data from the National Road Safety Authority. Last week alone, there were ten fatal car accidents which killed 17 people. In 2018, 316 people were killed on the roads.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)