Authorities responsible in soldier's tragic death?

19-year-old father of 2 killed after being hit by a car leaving base; road safety group warned IDF of the road defects for years.

Ari Yashar,

Soldiers (illustration)
Soldiers (illustration)
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Private Niv Galam, a 19-year-old soldier from Migdal Haemek in the north and a father of two, was killed after being hit by a car on Thursday night as he made his way home from the IDF base he serves at - but his tragic death may have been avoidable.

Galam was hit at Ilaniya Junction, located in the north of the country to the west of Tiberias.

That same junction has appeared for the last two-and-a-half years on a list of army bases that have serious safety defects on their access roads, which was compiled by the Or Yarok association for safer driving. But despite repeated requests by the association, authorities never fixed the road.

"We have been warning for two years that the access roads to many military bases endanger the lives of the soldiers, but nothing has been done," Or Yarok director Shmuel Abuav told Channel 2 on Friday.

"It is unthinkable that they send soldiers to bases where there are no safe crosswalks, and every entry and exit (from the base) is a gamble with their lives."

Abuav handed over a list of the faulty bases to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot when he assumed his post leading the army, pointing out 21 bases where the access is fraught with safety hazards.

The roads to the bases have no traffic lights, no crosswalks, or overpasses for soldiers trying to safely arrive at the base or else head home. A similar letter was sent by the Or Yarok director to Eizenkot's predecessor, Benny Gantz.

"The Ilaniya Junction, adjacent to Havat Hashomer on Highway 65, has no secure and organized crosswalk for pedestrians," Abuav warned in his letters to the IDF. "The safety defects endanger the lives of IDF soldiers needlessly, every day and hour."

Or Yarok says their reports have been passed around like a hot potato by the authorities and governmental bodies, who have not taken action to secure the soldiers over the course of several years.

In response, the IDF spokesperson unit said in a statement: "The IDF joins in the sorrow of the family and will continue to accompany it, and a criminal investigations division investigation has been opened. The communication (from Or Yarok - ed.) was received by the Chief of Staff's office and transferred to be dealt with by the relevant sources."


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