Israeli Arabs mourn over Haifa crash victims

Thousands turn out in Dier al-Assad and Iksal to funerals of the six victims of the fatal car crash near Nesher.

Funeral of Israeli Arabs killed in truck accident 370 (photo credit: Ariel Ben Solomon)
Funeral of Israeli Arabs killed in truck accident 370
(photo credit: Ariel Ben Solomon)
The Israeli Arab villages of Deir el-Asad and Iksal laid to rest six residents on Thursday after a fatal car crash in Nesher, near Haifa, on Wednesday. Fifteen others were injured in the incident.
Thousands turned out for the funerals and many came from surrounding villages to show their support for the families of the victims: Riad Drausha, 45, and his nephew, Ahmed Drausha, 17, from the village of Iksal, and Dahash Salah Amoun, 17; Raid Farid Omar, 40; Karim Musa Dabach, 18; and his cousin, Abed Alkleim Dabach, 18, from the village of Deir el-Asad.
Naser Sanallah, the head of the Deir al-Asad municipality, appeared visibly shaken by the loss of four members of his village.
He told The Jerusalem Post that the municipality and the families decided to hold a joint funeral for the victims and to hold a memorial ceremony at the village community center.
“Everyone in the village knew them and many people have come here today from outside of our village,” said Sanallah, adding that the village is helping the families cope with their loss.
Dr. Ali Nama, the director of Haian Medical Center, which privately treats patients in northern Arab villages, told the Post that he was not directly involved with treating the patients and his son, Tamer Nama, said that there were at least 3,000 people in the village for the funeral.
Tamer went on to explain the traditional way that the burial is carried out, saying that the bodies first are placed in the home of the family and the women of the village congregate there while the men meet elsewhere until the bodies are ready to be carried from the home to the cemetery. In this case, the men gathered at the community center, which lies at the very top of the hill that the village sits on.
Tamer said that he himself came from Tel Aviv for the funeral, which was held at 5 p.m.
“It does not matter if you do not know the victims personally,” said Tamer, adding that “you should still take part.”
He said that the village suffered a loss a week earlier – another resident was killed in a motorcycle accident in the US and his body was flown back to be buried in the village – so this accident came as another shock for local residents.
It seemed that most of the village took part in the funeral procession, walking along the windy downward roads, mostly in silence, toward the small cemetery surrounded by a short stone wall topped with a black metal railing. Not everyone could fit inside the cemetery and most gathered in a crowd surrounding it. For the most part, people remained locked in silence, although chanting could be heard during the prayer service.