A strong heat-wave in Israel brought about a third death from dehydration and a broad-sweeping response from Hareidi-religious rabbis over the weekend.

Menachem Shlomo Shapira, 15, a student at Bnei Brak’s Ponovezh yeshiva, died after fainting of dehydration and falling down a steep incline while hiking in Nahal Amud in the Galilee. He was rescued within minutes and treated for hours in a hospital intensive care unit. Nonetheless, he succumbed to his wounds.

Just a day earlier, 20-year-old Teshabin Yeshiva student Tzvi Miller lost his life while hiking in Nahal Ze’elim. Miller had embarked on the lengthy hike at dawn together with five friends, having packed food and drink. When the water ran out, the students had already descended the mountain but could not find additional water sources. Miller ran ahead to get help, but did not return and by the time rescuers reached the site, Miller had died of dehydration.

The temperatures in both areas have climbed over 115 (F) degrees in recent days. Authorities have recommended Israelis refrain from hiking during the severely hot weather.

Leading Hareidi-religious leaders Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Aharon Shteinman reportedly called on yeshiva students to avoid hiking altogether during “bein hazmanim” – the vacation time following the Fast of Tisha B’Av.  The announcement was issued Friday shortly after news of the second dehydration-related death was reported. The rabbis explained that hiking can be dangerous, and told students that “whoever listens to the advice of the elders will be blessed.”

A rescue team saved a dehydrated hiker near the Yehudiyah River in the Golan Heights Saturday.

Tragedy Thursday

Tragedy struck a Haifa-area family Thursday as a father left his eight-month-old infant in the car as he ran into his mechanic-shop to fix a tractor, thinking it would only take a minute. The man became engrossed, forgetting the child. When he remembered almost an hour later, he alerted rescue crews and ran to the car only to find it was too late and the child had died.

Police are considering charging the man with criminal negligence.

Electric Company Warns Against Peak Usage

Israel Electric Company (IEC) officials have warned consumers to set their thermostats to 25 C (77 F) and limit the use of major appliances from noon to 8 PM. The company warns that failure to do so could result in rolling blackouts.

The Globes business news service reports that the IEC has asked large customers to operate their generators in order to help the company meet the heavy demand.

The heat wave is expected to break Monday evening.