(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A six-year-old boy was killed and four others were injured in a traffic accident
on Rehov Hanevi’im in downtown Jerusalem on Thursday morning.
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has borne the brunt of the traffic though the center of the city since
construction began on the light rail on Jaffa Road, which runs parallel to the
street. Parents of students at the Lycee Francais de Jerusalem, where the victim
attended school, said that they had repeatedly warned the municipality that a
disaster was just waiting to happen.
The accident occurred on Thursday
morning when a woman turned left to find parking and hit an oncoming vehicle.
The impact deployed the airbags of the oncoming car, causing the driver to lose
control and drive onto the sidewalk, hitting four pedestrians – including Farid
Abu Katish, age six; his sister, five; and their father.
When the first
driver tried to get back onto her side of the road, she hit another car,
injuring the driver and a passenger lightly.
Both Katish and his sister
were unconscious when Magen David Adom evacuated them to Shaare Zedek Hospital
and later Hadassah-University Medical Center, Ein Kerem. Katish sustained a
severe head injury to which he later succumbed.
His sister, who was
severely injured in the stomach, remains in intensive care.
father was hospitalized with light injuries.
The driver, reported to be
an employee of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, was released on NIS 10,000
bail and gave up her two passports and international driver’s license. Parents
at the French school did not know if she was a parent of a student at the
“We sent them umpteen letters, and they made some token gestures,”
said Nicolas Pelham, whose son attends the French school and was hit by a car on
the same road nine months ago, though he was not injured. We warned them that
it’s becoming more lethal and kids are in daily danger,” he said.
Hanevi’im has five schools, Pelham explained, and the sidewalks are so narrow
they don’t even have room for two people to walk side by side. At the French
school alone, there are 270 students, meaning the area sees heavy pedestrian
Over a year ago, the parents requested traffic-calming measures
such as additional speed bumps, wider sidewalks, and more barriers between the
road and the sidewalks, but they said their requests had been repeatedly
ignored. The city finally painted an additional crosswalk near the French
school, but the parents said it had begun to fade the next day and was now
“We asked and asked them to take the measures, and they
did the least that they possibly could,” said Pelham, a member of the school’s
management committee, which is made up of parents.
He said that a raised
crosswalk could have prevented Thursday’s tragedy by forcing cars to slow
“People are in shock and in mourning for the kid, and they’re also
really concerned for when the next kid gets killed,” said Pelham. “They want
action now. It’s completely insufficient to say that we should wait until
they’re finished [with construction], until the first tram is up and running,
and they knew this.”
The management committee had been in touch with
Naomi Tsur, the deputy mayor for planning and environment, who had promised the
parents to fix the road after the tram was completed.
Tsur was abroad on
Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
“Rehov Hanevi’im has been
one of the victims of the light rail,” she told The Jerusalem Post
in an earlier
A municipality spokeswoman expressed regret for the accident,
but noted that any changes to the street were difficult because of the street’s
“Rehov Hanevi’im is an old and historic street, with built-up
areas on both sides for its entire length,” the spokeswoman said.
parents are planning a demonstration outside the school on Monday morning to
draw attention to the dangerous road conditions. They say that in the past two
years, more than 20 bus lines have changed their routes from Jaffa Road to Rehov
Hanevi’im because of the construction.
The French Consulate is also
sending grief counselors for a school-wide day of mourning on
“There’s a real sense of anger,” said Pelham. “But it isn’t just
anger, it’s a real fear of what’s going to happen. If they had done the
traffic-calming measures, the child would have still been alive.”