Sarah Netanyahu with Hofit Hayat
Israel news photo: Flash 90
Thousands of people accompanied firefighter Danny Hayat, 35, to his final resting place Sunday. Hayat was the 44th person who died as a result of burns suffered in the Carmel fire tragedy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that the families of firefighters killed in the disaster would receive benefits similar to those of relatives of IDF soldiers killed in action.
Danny Hayat / Courtesy of the Hayat family
The funeral procession began at the Afula fire station. Hayat's casket was borne on a fire truck to the Afula cemetery, where he was buried.
His widow Hofit, who is nine months pregnant, eulogized him: "Thank you for the little princess who is in my womb, for the great love I received from you, for the coffee you made for me in the morning. G-d was supposed to save you but he took you as tzaddikim [the righteous - ed.] are taken away. I promise you that I will be strong, just like you expected me to. You are my hero."
Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke of Danny in the weekly cabinet meeting.
"To our deep sorrow, firefighter Danny Hayat passed away last night after fighting for his life for two weeks," he said. "Danny courageously fought the fire in an heroic attempt to save the Prison Service bus. My wife and I visited him in hospital. We met his wife Hofit, who is due to give birth. We met his parents, Motti and Batsheva, and we discovered a strong, united and brave family. Despite all the prayers and the efforts, Danny passed away. Our hearts – the Government's and the nation's – are with the Hayat family."
"Firefighters selflessly fought the Carmel wildfire in order to take control of the flames and to try and rescue the Prison Service bus, which was caught in the heart of the inferno. In light of the special circumstances regarding the bus and of the firefighters' heroism, today, I am submitting for Cabinet approval, a proposal to give to the firefighters' families rights similar to those given to the families of fallen IDF soldiers."
"These rights will be given to firefighters Uri Semandayev, bus driver David Navon, Danny Hayat and remarkable 16-year-old volunteer Elad Riven, who dropped everything and went to save others. The nation bows its head in deepest appreciation."