Yishai Atias: 'We Must Have Strong Faith'

The brother of Rafael Atias, who died with his wife and six of their seven children in a road accident, says even tragedy comes from above

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Gabe Kahn,

Rafael Atias, OBM
Rafael Atias, OBM
צילום: אשר ליטבק

Yishai Atias spoke Tuesday of the loss of his brother Rafael, sister-in-law Yehudit, and six of their seven children in a tragic road accident.

“Yesterday we celebrated the opening of the synagogue and brought in two Torah scrolls. It was the happiest day of my life,” he told Army Radio. “Today is exactly the opposite.”

On Monday, he related, the family came early to help prepare for the celebration, and stayed late to help clean up.

Yishai said, “Before he went home he brought our parents home – the last mitzvah he did was honoring his father and mother.”

“It’s very hard for me, but we believe in the Creator of the World, that everything is from above. We must have strong faith,” he added.

Seven year old Rachel Atias, who alone survived Monday's horrific crash, related the final seconds before the crash to her uncle.

"The car started to move quickly and our mother told us to read from the book Psalms," she said. "We knew something was wrong and prayed."

"Mother kissed me, and there were screams in the car. Father called the police before we crashed, he cried and cried," she added.

Police officials on Tuesday said their initial investigation had concluded the accident that claimed eight members of the Attias family resulted from mechanical failure.

However, police stress the investigation is not complete. Investigators are now reportedly looking into the cause of the mechanical defect, and have not ruled out possible negligence on the part of vehicle inspectors.

To this end, Police are bringing in engineers from the Ministry of Transportation – and experts from an outside firm – to examine the car in detail.

The car passed inspection only three months ago, but the steep hills from Tzfat to Tiberias wear out brakes very quickly.