Pre-military academy leader says 'world has gone dark on me'

Headmaster of pre-military academy responsible for death of 10 students in flood describes what he is undergoing.

Tzvi Lev ,

Police at Bnei Tzion academy
Police at Bnei Tzion academy

The headmaster of the Tel Aviv pre-military academy responsible for organizing an ill-fated hike that left ten students dead says that "his entire world has gone dark on me" due to the accident.

Yuval Kahan was released on bail on Tuesday after being arrested last week over suspicions of causing death by negligence. After leaving custody, Kahan talked about the regret he felt in enabling the doomed hike to go forward.

"I will turn to each family personally, and the only thing I have thought of in recent days is this terrible disaster that took place under my responsibility and I can not find words of sorrow or condolences that can express what I am feeling," Kahan said, according to Haaretz.

"The world went dark on me and I will tell everything to every family as soon as I can meet them," added Kahan.

Kahan and counselor Aviv Berditchev were arrested shortly after the drowning and were only freed on Tuesday morning. The court forbade the two men to enter the offices of the preparatory academy and to contact any of the parties involved in the investigation for a period of ten days.

Police have appointed a special task force under the command of Police Commander Yossi Turjeman to investigate the circumstances leading up to the fatal hike.

According to reports, police are examining whether the organizers of the trip had lied to the students regarding the safety of the hike. Numerous reports also said that one of the academy's guides had repeatedly warned senior staff that the hike was unsafe after speaking to her father, who is deputy head of the Search and Rescue unit in the region which the students perished.

Immediately after the tragedy, Police Spokesperson Meirav Lapidot had blamed the Bnei Tzion staff for ignoring the flash flood warnings that it had disseminated. "The group of youths went on a trip to Nahal Tzafit despite our repeated warnings not to travel in the southern valleys," Lapidot told the Reshet Bet radio station.

"It's a terrible tragedy and it's easy to avoid such disasters. All you have to do is listen to instructions," she added. "We are issuing many warnings all the time, and it is unfortunate that we have reached this situation."