Scene of the car accident in which one person was killed and another injured badly.
(photo credit: NATHAN KING)
A week after an IDF soldier was struck and killed by a vehicle on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley, parents of her fellow soldiers have said they would rather their children are sent to jail than return to their base.
Lynn Levkov, 19, from Tel Aviv, was killed last week after she was struck by a vehicle near the Beit Ha’Arava junction while crossing the busy highway. A Magen David Adom emergency medical response personnel who responded to the scene, along with an IDF medical team, tried to resuscitate her but were forced to declare her death at the site.
According to a report by the Mako News website, parents of soldiers stationed at the same base as Levkov have protested the safety conditions in the area. The Palestinian driver of the vehicle that struck her was detained for questioning before being released.
Following Levkov’s death, the head of the IDF’s road safety branch stated that three other soldiers were killed nearby in similar circumstances.
“This unnecessary accident is added to the deaths of three additional fighters in similar circumstances. The decision has been made that now during the peak hours of soldiers arriving to base, an officer will be stationed at the junction in order to prevent additional casualties,” he was quoted by Mako News as saying.
The IDF Spokesperson’s office said in a statement given to Mako News, the IDF is examining solutions to dangerous junctions close to IDF bases including “investing in solutions and maintaining a regular dialogue with all relevant authorities.”
But the parents of soldiers in her battalion weren’t satisfied with the answer and called on Transportation Minister Israel Katz to handle the matter as soon as possible.
Others chose not to send their children to base until the matter until the issue was dealt with.
“My daughter didn’t return to base yesterday. She may face trial and go to jail but at least she will be safe there,” a mother of one of the soldiers serving at the base told Mako News.
According to one father, soldiers have been instructed to run faster while crossing the road.
“We sent our girls to combat units. We are now in a situation where it’s better not to send our children to base at all,” he said.
Many soldiers and commanders at the base have already warned about the danger of the highway but nothing has been done, Mako News said. According to them, the only way to get to the bus stop is to run across the major highway which has no crosswalk, traffic lights or pedestrian bridge.
According to the report, one of Levkov’s commanders said that soldiers are not taking equipment home to make it faster to run across the busy highway unencumbered by a heavy backpack.
“As a commander, I remember that was the thing I was most afraid of was to send soldiers home when I knew that there was this road there,” another commander was quoted as saying. “Drivers go at crazy speeds, and there is no enforcement or cameras. We are trying to raise awareness of this danger for two years and nothing has been done.”
In comparison to the previous three years where suicide was the leading cause of death in the IDF, the majority of fatalities in 2018 were due to traffic accidents.
According to statistics released by the army, 14 soldiers were killed in traffic accidents in 2018, two more than died in accidents while on and off duty the previous year.
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