(April 27, 2018 / JNS) Following the deaths of 10 Israeli teenagers who died on Thursday afternoon in a flash flood near the Dead Sea, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took to Twitter to offer his condolences on Friday.
“Rain in Israel is a blessing. But this week that blessing took a tragic turn,” he tweeted. “Americans are heartbroken by the loss of life resulting from this week’s flash floods. We send our condolences to the families of all the victims and pray for all those who are in mourning.”
A group of 25 Israeli teenagers were participating in a team-building hike prior to commencing studies at Tel Aviv’s Bnei Tzion pre-military academy when they were hit by a flash flood that killed 10 of the students, between 17 and 18 years old, at Nahal Tzafit.
The victims were named as: Tzur Alafi from Mazkeret Batya, Ella Or from Ma’ale Adumim, Yael Sadan from Jerusalem, Agam Levy from Moshav Herut, Shani Shamir from Shoham, Gali Balali from Givatayim, Adi Raanan from Mikhmoret, Romi Cohen from Moshav Maor, Mayan Barhum from Jerusalem and Ilan Bar Shalom from Rishon Letzion.
A police spokeswoman told Reshet Bet radio that the department had issued warnings not to travel in the area. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said there were no records of the school requesting permission from his ministry to go ahead with the itinerary in the desert area, which is at risk for flash floods.
Rains and hail pummeled Israel on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to an additional four reported deaths by the Palestinian Authority, as well as numerous viral videos and images of severe flooding and hail buildup around the country.