Arava crash 224.88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A head-on collision between two cars on the treacherous Arava highway Sunday morning claimed the lives of four people - including three members of an American immigrant family.
Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced three victims - Charles "Chuck" and Roberta Bernstein, 54 and 49 respectively, and their daughter Batsheva, 18 - dead at the scene.
The Bernsteins' son, 11-year-old Moshe, was seriously injured in the crash and evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
The Bernsteins, originally from New York, immigrated to Israel 21 years ago and settled in Jerusalem's Ramot Bet neighborhood, which they helped establish.
A family friend told The Jerusalem Post that the Bernsteins had been returning from a hot air balloon demonstration at Timna when the accident occurred, some four kilometers north of Kibbutz Ketura.
An initial traffic police investigation indicated that one of the cars veered from its lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle.
Chuck, who grew up in the Bronx, New York, ran Future Kids, a computer program of activities for children, and was a leading member in the Mitzpe Ramot synagogue.
"He was a pillar of the synagogue and the whole community," said a friend of the family. "It is a terrible loss."
Roberta, a social worker, was the full time social worker and Project Coordinator for the Survivors of Terror project of ATZUM Justice Works, and Batsheva was a guide in her local religious scout group.
The Bernsteins' older daughter, Ofra, currently serving in the IDF, was not with her family at the time of the accident. She was summoned from her base to identify the bodies of her parents and sister.
Members of the Bernsteins' congregation made their way to Beersheba to support Moshe and Ofra, and counselors from the younger children's schools were called in.
The three members of the Bernstein family will be buried on Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Kehillat Mitzpe Ramot in Ramot Bet.
The fourth fatality in the accident, Sharon Sabag, 49, from the northern village of Bethlehem Haglilit, had been in the second car and suffered injuries to her abdomen. She died on the operating table at Eilat's Josephthal Hospital. A hospital spokesman said she had arrived in "extremely critical" condition.
Sabag's son Natanel, 12, was airlifted along with Moshe Bernstein to Soroka Hospital with critical injuries. Sabag's husband, Yossi, was lightly injured in the crash.
A dog was also killed in the accident. Zaka volunteers buried it at the side of the road, Israel Radio reported.
In another accident, a truck carrying chlorine overturned Sunday afternoon on Highway 90 near Jericho, Judea and Samaria Police reported.
Magen David Adom paramedics were scrambled to the scene and evacuated the driver, who was lightly hurt, to Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital, Mount Scopus. A hazardous materials disposal squad was also called in.