Amid heat wave, 18-year-old IDF soldier dies of sun stroke in Jerusalem

For the sixth day in a row on Tuesday, Israelis experienced the scorching temperatures of a brutal summer heat wave.

Private Dan Sela  (photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Private Dan Sela
The summer heat wave claimed the life of IDF Pvt. Dan Sela on Tuesday. Sela, 18, from Afula, collapsed during an army tour in the Old City of Jerusalem as a result of sunstroke. He was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead after efforts to save him failed.
The IDF has opened an investigation into the circumstances of Sela’s death. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has instructed commanders to pay special attention to army regulations regarding activity in severe heat conditions. He ordered all commanders to refresh procedures for extreme heat conditions.
Ground forces chief Maj.- Gen. Guy Tzur appointed an inquiry committee headed by an officer at the rank of colonel to investigate the circumstances of the incident.
The IDF sent its condolences to Sela’s family in a statement, adding that it would help the family “in all that is necessary.”
Sela will be laid to rest at the Afula Military Cemetery on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The tragedy was one of several health emergencies thatoccurred as a result of the heat in recent days.
A 59-year-old man collapsed at a factory in Ma’aleh Adumim on Monday and was transported to Hadassah University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus in a serious condition. MDA paramedics said that the man was likely the victim of sunstroke as well.
A group of some 200 yeshiva students hiking near the Yagur River nature reserve in the Galilee became stranded due to the heat and a lack of water.
Some of the students suffered from dehydration. Rescue services were dispatched to the area, located the group after an hour, and evacuated them to safety.
A baby who suffered dehydration during a family trip to the Jordan Valley on Monday remains in critical condition.
For the sixth day in a row on Tuesday, Israelis experienced scorching temperatures, although the highest temperature recorded, 45°C, was slightly lower than Sunday’s peak of 49°C, according to data from the Israel Meteorological Service.
Both maximum temperatures occurred in the Jordan Valley’s Kibbutz Gilgal.
“We are expecting it to be slightly less warm in the next two days, but it will become very warm again in the weekend,” said Dr. Amos Porat, head of the IMS Climate Department.
IMS forecasts predict continued unseasonably warm conditions through until at least Saturday. The heat index will decrease slightly on Thursday but then become severe again in most regions on Friday and Saturday. Muggy conditions will prevail in the coastal areas on both Wednesday and Friday, the forecast added.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.