A Bible was the only possession that was not damaged in the horrific car crash Monday night that left one seven-year-old girl alive to mourn for eight family members.
The family was returning to their home in the national religious community of Bar Yochai, located near Meron and Tzfat, from the dedication in a nearby city of a Torah scroll and new synagogue founded by the children’s grandfather.
The driver, Rafael Atias, 42, realized his brakes were not working and phoned the emergency hotline. The car had passed inspection only three months ago, but the steep hills from Tzfat to Tiberias wear out brakes very quickly.
As the car sped down a hill out of control, Atias' wife Yehudit, 42, abruptly stopped a conversation with the hotline and screamed. “G-d. Save us. HaShem, save us.”
Emergency personnel on the other end of the phone then heard the sounds of a crash and screams.
The first police car to arrive at the scene of the tragedy saw the car in flames, having overturned after hitting a railing. The girl, Rachel, cried, “My whole family was in the car that went up in flames.” She added, “My parents did not answer me” when she tried to wake them up.
Gilad Hanun of the Ichud HaTzalah in Tiberias, one of the first to arrive, said that everything in the car, including a cell phone, was burned except for a Bible.
The victims, besides the parents, are Avia, 17, twins Eliyashiv and Neria Shimon, 16, Shira, 11, Tair, 8 and Noa, 4.
Rafael Atias was the principal of the Miftan school in Tzfat.