Israel to establish commission of inquiry into deadly flash flood

10 teenagers from the Bnei Tzion pre-military academy in Tel Aviv during a flash flood last April.

By
February 7, 2019 19:38
1 minute read.
Israeli rescue service personnel operate near the site where 10 Israeli youths were swept away by a

Israeli rescue service personnel operate near the site where 10 Israeli youths were swept away by a flash flood south of the Dead Sea on April 26. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

 
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The government will establish a commission of inquiry into last April's Nahal Tzafit disaster, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday, nearly nine months after 10 teenagers from the Bnei Zion pre-military academy were killed in a flash flood.

“Sometimes tragedies happen – as you know – as unfortunately happened in one of our pre-military academies,” Netanyahu said during a visit with students of another such academy near the Gaza border.

“I met with the parents,” he said. “They asked me to set up a commission of inquiry into the failures in order to ensure that something like this will never happen again. I intend to update them as soon as the police inquiry is completed. We will set up a government commission of inquiry to ensure that [pre-military] preparatory work carries on for generations.”

Ten teenagers from the academy – nine girls and a boy – were killed after they were carried off by a sudden surge into the dry riverbed, west of the southern part of the Dead Sea, amid intense storms. The students of the Tel Aviv academy were hiking on a field trip at the time of their death.

The parents of the teenagers said that they “welcomed” the committee, in a statement released to the media. “About a year after the tragedy of the Bnei Zion disaster, in which 10 of our children perished, we welcome the prime minister’s decision to establish an objective public inquiry committee to examine the circumstances of the terrible tragedy and to determine ways that such a disaster will never happen again. We thank the prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu, for responding to our request and we hope that the committee will fulfill its heavy task.”

Three teams of the IDF’s elite 669 Search and Rescue Unit, aided by three Yasur and two Yanshuf helicopters, conducted an intense search for the missing teenagers. In addition, teams from the IDF’s Oketz canine unit and the Yahalom joint special-combat engineering unit took part in the search.

Subsequent inquires into the disaster were deemed a “cover-up” by the teenagers’ parents after the Education Ministry announced an inquiry into the event.

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