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Car Crash Killed Half of Local Bnei Akiva Leaders

Bar Yochai, the home of the survivor of the crash that killed the rest of her family, lost half of its Bnei Akiva leaders in the accident.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/23/2012, 3:49 PM

Atias Crash Site
Atias Crash Site
Danny Eliyahu, Fire and Rescue Services

Moshav Bar Yochai, the home of the lone survivor of the tragic car crash that killed the rest of her family, lost half of its Bnei Akiva leaders in the accident.

The national religious youth movement said that its local chapter has erected a mourning tent for its members and for other Bnei Akiva youth to visit and express their condolences on the loss of three of its counselors, three other children and the parents, Rafi and Yehudit Atias.

All of the victims died in the post-midnight Monday tragedy, when their car’s braking system failed, causing the vehicle to smash into a railing and overturn, when it caught fire.

Miraculously, seven-year-old Rachel Atias was able to escape the inferno and survived with light to moderate injuries. The only possession in the car that was not damaged was a Bible.

One of the victims, 11-year-old Shira, also was a member of Bnei Akiva at Bar Yochai, located near Meron and Tzfat in the Upper Galilee.

“The Bnei Akiva movement expresses its deep sorrow over the lost of the three leaders and Shira,” the organization’s spokesman Daniel Weiss stated. It added that educators and leaders are working with the local chapter to address the emotional issues involved for the children at Bar Yochai.

The senior leader of the Bar Yochai chapter said, “We have lost in one moment almost half of our leaders and our member Shira, and we nevertheless have decided  to stage activities that Avia, one of the counselors, had planned, an  action that will help us remember her in the best way.”

Ze’ev Haver, head of the northern district of Bnei Akiva said, “From out standpoint, we feel  this has been a civilian terrorist attack. I was with the Bnei Akiva youth today, and the members have not been able to absorb the tragedy.

“The Atias family was a large part of the chapter and always worked to help and support everyone.”