Police were left with more questions than answers on Thursday as they continued their investigation into the tragic deaths of an American immigrant family, two of whose members committed suicide Tuesday night.
Morris Arav and his sister Rachel took their lives by electrocuting themselves on an electrical pole near Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael in the North, shortly after failing to kill themselves in a deliberate collision with a passenger train nearby.
Their 82-year-old mother Ruth was seriously injured in the collision, which occurred after Morris drove the family car with the three inside onto the train tracks after the barrier had already descended, then waited for the train to slam into it. She remained hospitalized Thursday in serious condition.
The Aravs immigrated from the United States over 10 years ago, police said.
While police initially thought the Aravs had decided to commit suicide due to financial difficulties, family acquaintances told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that money was not the issue.
"The entire community was very surprised to hear about what happened to the family," Ya'akov Amor, the head of the Katzir Regional Council, told the Post. The Arav family, Amor said, was not treated by welfare officials, had bought a cottage in the village of Harish several years ago, and had recently purchased a new car. "Money was definitely not the problem," he said.
He could not say what caused the brother and sister to take their lives, but noted: "There was an 82-year-old mother and a brother and sister in their late forties all living together. Their house was also weird since they lived closed in and cut off from the rest of the community."
Zichron Ya'akov police commander Ch.-Supt. Avi Edri said investigators had also ruled out financial trouble as the motive, and now believe Morris Arav may have been sick and the mother and sister were scared to be left alone.
Anna Nasinov, a resident of Harish, said she and the other residents were shocked to hear of the deaths. "They were such nice people and no one understands what happened," Nasinov said.
Indeed, Morris and Rachel, Nasinov said, were role models for how children are meant to treat their mothers. "They would take her for strolls and it was clear that they looked after her with great care," she said. "We should all treat our mothers that way."