Bereaved family status for some Carmel kin

Families of firefighters, volunteer and bus driver will receive benefits granted to fallen IDF soldiers; firefighter to be buried in Afula.

311_zaka in fire aftermath (photo credit: Aharon Baruch Leibovitch)
311_zaka in fire aftermath
(photo credit: Aharon Baruch Leibovitch)
The families of two firefighters, a fire service volunteer and a bus driver who died two weeks ago as they tried to rescue members of the Prisons Service trapped on a burning bus as the Carmel Forest fire raged, will be recognized as bereaved families under the 1950 Families of Fallen Soldiers Law, the cabinet decided on Sunday.
A statement released by the cabinet said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had pushed for the move because “these were people acting to save the lives of Prisons Service personnel who perished.”
RELATED:‘She waited to make sure the fires were out’Funerals held across the country for fire victims
According to the decision, the families of bus driver David Navon, Fire Service volunteer Elad Riven and firefighters Uri Semandayev and Danny Hayat will be recognized as bereaved families. This will entitle the families to receive a range of state benefits and financial support.
“Danny [Hayat] courageously fought the fire, in a heroic attempt to save the Prisons Service bus,” Netanyahu said in a statement about the 44th victim of the devastating fire two weeks ago. “My wife and I visited him in hospital.
We met his wife, Hofit, who is due to give birth, and discovered a strong, united and brave family.
Our hearts are with them.”
The prime minister added: “The firefighters selflessly fought the Carmel wildfire in order to take control of the flames and to try and rescue the Prisons Service bus, which was caught in the heart of the inferno.”
Thirty-seven Prisons Service personnel, their bus driver, three police officers, two firefighters and a teenage Fire Service volunteer died in the four-day blaze, which was the worst in the state’s 63 years. The fire, which police suspect was started by some careless youths, destroyed around 35,000 dunams (3,500 hectares) of natural woodlands and planted forest and the cost of rehabilitation is estimated at hundreds of millions of shekels.
Immediately after the fire, Netanyahu promised provide emergency compensation to families whose homes were destroyed in the blaze, including NIS 2,500 per person to buy necessities, such as clothes and school books.