TEL AVIV (Jun. 19)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin has assured soldiers injured in a severe road crash earlier this week that work would be speeded up on building a by-pass road at the side of a dangerous stretch of road on which their truck lost its brakes and crashed. The accident on Monday left three Israel Defense Force soldiers dead, and 23 others injured.
The accident brought to 13 the number of people killed since 1974 on the same stretch of steep winding road from the settlement of Ma’aleh Ephraim outside Jerusalem to the Jordan rift junction north of Jericho.
The three soldiers killed in the crash were buried Tuesday. They were Raviv Set, 20, of Kibbutz Yagur; Neil Ben-Atar, 19, of Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi; and Yiftah Ophir, 20, of Moshav Kidron. Rabin said he ordered the new construction on this dangerous road, much used by military traffic, as soon as he took over as Defense Minister.
Initial reports of the accident said that the civilian passenger-carrying truck in which the soldiers were travelling, heavily loaded with their kitbags, had lost its brakes on the steep hill and went over the edge into a dry river bed at a sharp bend.