Eran Weizel funeral 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Forty-two people were killed in the giant blaze near the Carmel
Mountains that started on Thursday. Thirty-six of the victims were
prison guards on their way to Damon prison, and were killed when the
fast-moving fire engulfed their bus.
As of Friday evening, only 18 of the victims’ bodies were identified.
Many were so badly burned that emergency services were using DNA and
dental records to identify the bodies, forcing the families to wait to
hold the funerals until positive identifications could be made. Forty of
the bodies were held at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute awaiting
identification. Families of the victims were being hosted by families in
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Eight funerals were held on Friday afternoon. Cmdr Eli Gabizon, head of
the Southern District of prison guards, who was in charge of 13 of the
guards on the bus tried to attend as many funerals as possible on
Friday. “We were like a family and they were all my children, it’s
really hard,” Gabizon told Israel Radio . “But we will grow from this. It’s
a strong organization, and it will support us. But we’ve taken a huge
blow today and it’s so painful.”
The guards on the bus were part of a new officer’s course that started
this year, which received specialized training in order to improve
prisoner treatment and become directors in the prison system. The course
started on October 17 of this year and was supposed to conclude next
“The families ask hard questions…. But they know this was their work,
and we had to do it. Many times I went to a family to comfort them and
it ended up that the families were comforting me,” Gabizon added.
Family and friends remembered their loved ones as they tried to grapple
with the senseless tragedy. “We couldn’t have expected this, we’re still
trying to understand it and believe it,” a family friend of Hagai Zolo,
28, from Kiryat Gat, told the media on Friday. “He always did the best
for everyone,” she added.
“We heard it on the news that there was a bus of guards that was on
fire, and we called and called and called him, but he didn’t answer,”
said the brother of Ronen Pereg, 34, who also worked with prison
services. Pereg was the father of two.
Hundreds gathered in Yavne on Friday to bid farewell to Maor Ganon, 27,
another prison service officer.
Haim Furman, a friend of Ganon who was at the funeral described it as a
send-off fitting a hero, with a 21-gun salute and representatives from
the Prisons Service and Israeli rescue services coming to pay their
Furman said friends and relatives described Ganon as "the rock of his
family, the sibling who can always be counted on." Furman added that
family described him as "ambitious, determined, and focused" and asked
time and again, who will they count on now to do the things that Ganon
could always be depended on to do.
Ganon was enrolled in an
officers course with the Prisons Service when
his life was cut short. His loved ones said it was his dream to serve
his country as an officer of the Shabas.
Ganon leaves behind his wife, Sivan, and three-year-old daughter Hila.
Topaz Even Hen Klein was scheduled to be laid to rest at 12:00 PM at the
military cemetary in Rehovot. Beber Shabi was scheduled to be laid to
rest at 12:00 PM in Kfar Jat. Kfir Ohana was scheduled to be laid to
rest at 12:00 PM at the military cemetery in Ofakim. Tzagi Sium wass
scheduled to be laid to rest at 11:30 AM at the military cemetery in
Netivot. Meir Ganon was scheduled to be laid to rest at 12:00 PM at the
military cemetery in Yavne. Yakir Suisa was scheduled to be laid to rest
at 12:00 PM at the military cemetery in Dimona. Oshrat Pinto was
scheduled to be laid to rest at 12:00 at the military cemetery in Safed.
Hagi Giorno was scheduled to be laid to rest at 11:30 AM at the
milityary cemetery in Kiryat Gat. A'adel Tafesh was scheduled to be laid
to rest at 12:00 PM in Beit Jean. Eran Wiesel was scheduled to be laid
to rest at 12:00 PM in Haifa.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report