Tzofit flood victims’ parents: Gov’t probe a ‘cover-up’

‘The disaster did not happen because of the forces of nature – people killed our children.’

Dozens of teenagers gathering in circles Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, in memory of those killed in the Tzafit canyon flood disaster. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Dozens of teenagers gathering in circles Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, in memory of those killed in the Tzafit canyon flood disaster.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Parents of the nine teenage girls and one boy drowned in a flash flood of the Tzafit Stream near the Dead Sea in April during a trip organized by Tel Aviv’s Bnei Tzion premilitary academy spoke before the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee on Monday, demanding the opening of a commission to investigate the disaster.
“I beg you to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry,” said Uriel Bar-Shalom, father of the late Ilan Bar-Shalom. “The committee established by the Education Ministry is a cover-up committee, lawless and shameful, an evasion of responsibility.”
Committee Chairman Ya’acov Margi demanded that the Education Ministry announce the establishment of an independent and impartial commission of inquiry within two weeks to investigate the disaster.
The Education and Defense ministries have reportedly pointed fingers at each other over responsibility for the school trip. Premilitary preparatory programs are funded by both ministries. In April, the ministries announced the opening of a committee to examine safety procedures for external activities in premilitary academies.
“We are here to prevent the next disaster,” said Arik Shamir, father of the late Shani Shamir. “We have lost those who are dear to us. Our disaster did not happen because of the forces of nature – people killed our children. The culture of walking on the edge of the world and the preparatory programs are killing our children. The lack of responsibility of the Defense Ministry and the Education Ministry is what killed our children.”
“There was a committee to regulate the procedures of the preparatory courses,” added Shamir, “but not a commission of inquiry. How can this important preparatory project be repaired if you do not check what happened there?”
Ella Or, Yael Sadan, Maayan Barhum, Tzur Alfi, Shani Shamir, Romi Cohen, Adam Levy, Gali Balali, Ilan Bar Shalom and Adi Ranen lost their lives in the hike south of the Dead Sea.

Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.