Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Personal Tragedy

Recently, one of my good friends who I have known since high school, was struck with a very serious personal tragedy. While in Israel visiting relatives, my friend's wife, two young children, and Mother-in-Law were killed in a car crash in the Negev. According to reports, a driver in a military vehicle crossed the median to try and pass a car in a "no passing zone," lost control of the vehicle, and caused a multi-car accident which killed my friend's family. The driver only suffered minor injuries.

I had never met my friend's wife and family, as they had been living in Israel. But I had seen lots of photos of the kids on Facebook, and I almost felt like I had met them. Beginning last year, the family had temporarily relocated to the US so my friend's wife could work on her PhD. I had hoped to meet them at some time while they were here. Unfortunately, that will no longer be possible.

The complete senselessness of it all is hard to deal with. How could something like this happen to such good people. They did not do anything to harm anyone else. Both children were under the age of five. How could they be denied the opportunity to live out their lives? The person who did wrong - the military driver - has suffered no consequence for his actions.

I had been reluctant to write anything here about the incident and about my friend (who has commented on the blog in the past) because I wasn't sure this was an appropriate forum. I mean, in between all of the concert reports, girls in bikinis, and my conservative bashing, I wasn't sure where it would fit in.

But my friend is now trying to start a campaign to force the Israeli government to start dealing with the problem of road accidents. In many cases, roads in Israel are very old and narrow. In addition to that, there is almost no traffic enforcement to speak of in the entire country. Israel invests so heavily in the military that they have little money to spare on local police who would do the heavy lifting on this issue.

My friend has written a column for the Israeli website Ynet detailing the problem and offering solutions:
"One excuse given for the slowness of change in Israel on this subject is budgetary. However, it’s the government’s duty to its citizens to protect our safety. They talk about “security,” but spend only NIS 440 million on the budget of the Road Safety Authority, less than 1% of the Defense Budget. This despite the fact that many more people die in car accidents than in wars and terrorism."
There is also a group on Facebook called Road accidents in Israel - We must act! If you use Facebook, look for it, and sign up.


T. Paine said...

David, I am very sorry to hear about the death of your friend's family. Indeed this must be an absolutely an unfathomable tragedy for him, I am sure. My prayers are with him and you for your friend, sir.

Dave Splash said...