7 family members killed in train crash in Israel


(JTA) — Seven members of a single family were killed when a train collided with a minivan near the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat.

In a grim scene Aug. 5, workers from the rescue-and-recovery organization ZAKA recognized one of the fatalities as one of their own, ZAKA volunteer Aryeh Bernstein, 43. He was killed along with his wife, four children — including a pregnant daughter — and an infant grandson. Thousands turned out the day after the accident for their funerals.

"The family is well known,"  said ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who rushed to the scene from Jerusalem. "Aryeh was a very important veteran volunteer who attended my daughter’s wedding only last week. This incident, in which an entire family has been wiped out, is very hard, but the pain for us is doubled when we are talking about a respected member of the ZAKA family."

Initial investigations showed that the driver of the minivan drove through a barrier and stopped on the tracks. All of those killed were in the minivan.

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