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Dror Koren, who finished his army duty not long ago, served in the Home Front Command's search and rescue unit and had planned to go abroad as a representative of the Jewish Agency.
Koren was one of four young hikers drowned by torrential rains while rappelling on Saturday in Nahal Qumran. His friends Noa Shapira, Tal Alon, and Amit Gottlieb also killed in the flood.
Torrential rains kill four young hikers
Dror's older brother, Yaron, who arrived at the scene as part of the search and rescue team, told Army Radio on Sunday that contrary to reports, no one had warned the hikers that a flood was on the way or told them not to climb in the area.
"[Dror] was a very responsible person who liked to take no chances," Ma'ariv's Web site quoted his family members as saying. "He dedicated his army service to saving people's lives." They added that he had been a volunteer firefighter in Herzliya since age 15.
Dror is survived by his parents and his brother, who heads a search and rescue team in the Central District firefighting squad. Yaron rushed to the scene when he heard that his brother's group had been caught in the flood. He later discovered that Dror had not survived.
Sgt. Amit Gottlieb, who also served in the Home Front Command, was warned by his father not to go climbing because of the inclement weather the news was predicting, family members said.
"Amit decided to go hiking anyway," they said. "He was an avid skier, and he would sometimes go rappelling with his friends."
The Gottlieb family, who live in Rehovot, are now awaiting the arrival of Amit's sister Netta, who was out of the country at the time of the accident and is expected to fly back on Sunday night.
Noa Shapira was supposed to celebrate her 23rd birthday at the end of this month. The young Kfar Saba resident, who was studying economics and management at Tel Aviv University, went rappelling for the first time on Thursday and enjoyed it so much that she decided to join her classmates again on Saturday.
"The last conversation she had was with [our] mother," said her brother, Danny. "She said they were hiking and that she was enjoying the sun, while it was raining in Kfar Saba. She was a girl with a zest for life, beautiful and smart. She loved hiking, [she was] carefree and spontaneous."
Tal Alon, from the Wadi Ara area, was born later in his parents' lives. He served in the Nahal Brigade while in the IDF, and traveled to India after his army service. He returned a year-and-a-half later to fight as a reservist in the Second Lebanon War. He then worked as a rappelling instructor.
One of Tal's relatives described the family as warm and strongly Zionistic, having made aliya from England in the 70s. Friends and family flocked to the Alon home to provide support following the tragedy.