Israeli among 298 fatalities aboard downed Malaysian plane

(JTA) — A 27-year-old Israeli was among the 298 victims who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine.

Dov Avnon, Itamar Avnon’s father, announced his son’s death on Facebook, the Maariv daily reported Friday.

“They say life is short — yes it is true,” wrote the Israeli-born Dov Avnon, who lives in the Netherlands and describes himself as a Christian with a Jewish background.  “I am happy that he grew up with the bible and the faith that Christ died for him on the cross,” he wrote.

An acquaintance of Itamar Avnon told JTA he was in the Netherlands for a wedding and was on his way to Australia, where he studied, via Malaysia. Itamar Avnon served in the Israel Defense Forces as a paratrooper in 2007. Dov Avnon and his wife, Jeannet, have two other children, Jonathan and Ruth.

Israel’s embassy in the Netherlands offered condolences to the families of the 298 victims of the crashed plane, including 173 Dutch citizens.

The plane is believed to have been downed Thursday in Ukraine’s east, possibly by pro-Russian separatists.

“The Embassy of Israel on behalf of the people of Israel would like to express its sorrow and offer sincere condolences to the Dutch people and to all the families of those who have tragically lost their lives today on the Malaysian flight MH17,” the embassy said in a statement Thursday on its Facebook page.

In its statement, the U.S. State Department wrote: “The United States is shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and we offer our deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on board. May their memory be blessed.”

The plane, which left for Malaysia from the Netherlands, carried up to 100 scientists, activists, researchers and health workers who were on their way to Melbourne, Australia for a conference about AIDS, The Daily Telegraph of London reported.

Irgoen Olei Holland, a group representing Dutch-born Israelis, also offered its condolences to the Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv, the group said in a statement Friday.

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