Carmel fire
Carmel fire Israel news photo: Flash 90

Four of Israel’s fallen Carmel fire heroes will be honored posthumously. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has instructed the relevant authorities to recognize the late 16-year-old volunteer firefighter Elad Rivan, fireman Uri Semandayev, and David Navon, the driver of the bus in which some 37 Israel Prison Service cadets lost their lives, to be recognized as equivalent to fallen IDF soldiers.

In addition, the parents of another bus victim, Dmitri Kozelov, who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return 13 years ago, will be granted the status of “permanent residents” in Israel. Kozelov, a dentist in the Ketziot Prison, lived in southern Israel with his wife, with whom he immigrated to Israel, and their only son. His parents have asked to be able to remain in Israel with their daughter-in-law and grandson, and Interior Minister Eli Yishai has granted their request.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has also decided that wounded firefighter Danny Hayat will be recognized as a wounded IDF veteran. Hayat suffered burns over most of his body near the ill-fated bus, and is hospitalized in serious condition in Rambam Hospital. Danny's wife is due to give birth these very days.

Netanyahu’s decisions are expected to be ratified in the upcoming Cabinet session this Sunday.

Uri Semandayev, 27, of Migdal HaEmek, joined the firefighting force two years ago, only a few months before he was married.

Navon, 48, is survived by his wife and two children. His colleagues in the Maya Tours bus company, where he worked for the last nine years of his life, noted his generosity and good humor that left its mark wherever he went.

Elad Rivan helped firemen fight the catastrophic blaze nearly two weeks ago near Beit Oren, until it overcame him. Elad’s friends in 11th grade in the Reali High School in Haifa said he joined up with a firefighting team from Afula when he heard about the fire.