As I said I would do for this week in my blog .... Hailing the Heroes!! And the first I want to honour in this series is the youngest to die in the "Carmel Forest Fire", also incidentally honoured by Benjamin Netanyahu & the Israeli government today, 16 year old Elad Riven.
Sixteen-year-old Elad Riven lost his life while volunteering in battle against Carmel hills fire. Elad was an only child who decided to volunteer and help battle the huge wildfire in the Carmel hills, when he got caught in the flames and lost his life near kibbutz Beit Oren. He was killed while trying to rescue the IPS cadets who were trapped on a bus which was taking them to evacuate prisoners in the Damon Prison. (It is nothing short of an abomination that their behaviour on hearing of his & all the Jewish deaths on that dreadful day was to clap & cheer ~ horrific not heroic!).
Elad had just celebrated his 16th birthday just last month, in a surprise party thrown by his friends & Birthday Balloons still adorned his home on this final leavetaking. He studied at the prestigious 'Re'ali' (Science-oriented) High School in Haifa. His classmates said that when Elad saw flames and smoke billowing during school, he quickly called his mother and asked her to bring his uniform and take him to join his unit at the site of the fire. He got dressed in the car, on the way to the fire.
"Elad was a hero who ran toward the fire instead of running away from it and saving his life," his mother said on IDF Radio. A close friend of his, Bar Ashkenazi said: "He was an amazing guy, a kid with a heart of gold. He always helped people. He heard about the fire and was on his way immediately."
|Tzvia (Mom) & Elad!|
"He was a straight-A student. About a year ago he joined the firefighters in Haifa as a volunteer. Just like a good kid, when he saw the smoke over Carmel Mountain, he left school and ran to help out," said his mother Tzvia. "He was very close to the burning bus, so he ran to save lives and got caught in the fire. He was a hero ~ running into the fire instead of running away from it and saving his own life."
She added that Elad was learning to fly a lightweight airplane and dreamed of becoming a pilot! A Life cut down & dreams destroyed ..... Ron Kitri, the principal of the Haifa school Elad was enrolled in, talked about a student with a special character. "He studied here since first grade. An only child, very talented student, volunteered as a firefighter and a tutor."
"I saw him at school on Thursday just like the rest of the students. We didn't talk. But I held an assembly for all of the students and the school advisors, and I also visited the family home," he added.
"When Elad heard about the wildfire, he called his mom and requested she bring him his volunteer uniform. He quickly put it on and arrived at the scene. He joined a firefighting crew from Afula and went out on a life-saving operation from which he never returned,""Placed on his desk Saturday morning was his last physics exam ~ he scored a 95!" read the statement issued by the school.
Elad's homeroom teacher, Mali Zangut, said he was a sensitive, mature and attentive student, always offering to help others. His close friends said he had "a huge soul" and was loved by all. Around 2 pm on Thursday was the last time anyone heard from Elad, while he was onsite with the Afula crew. It was the last time he spoke with his mom, who wanted to make sure everything was alright after dropping him off at the fire service headquarters.
The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that it will be holding a central youth assembly in Haifa in memory of Elad Riven which will take place at the conclusion of the shloshim (the mourning period) for Riven. This special assembly in memory of Elad Riven will be conducted in conjunction with Israel’s national youth movements and will emphasize and encourage volunteering among youth. The ceremony will be attended by Elad’s parents, Emil and Tzvia, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav. Also in attendance will be large numbers of teens who regularly volunteer in different organizations. Meni Rabinovich, the middle school director at the school added: "We lost a true hero during Hanukkah, the festival of courage ~ one of those heroes Israeli society was founded on, who give us the strength to continue."
Lately Elad complained to his mother about fires breaking out all over the country, not just in Haifa, & since the Carmel fires there has been more than 20 deliberately set (undisputed) "wild" fires. The Israeli government now owe it to the heroic sacrifices of this week to introduce realistic penalties for Arson ~ prison sentences up to the Death Penalty!!
Minister Sa’ar has also ordered that following the Chanukah vacation, all school educators dedicate one classroom hour to study the character of Elad Riven, with an emphasis on the values embodied in his personality and circumstances of his death. Fitting to hail the hero the Elad Rivan so obviously was!
|Elad's Excitement !!!|
There is an old Jewish proverb I'm fond of quoting "Those who are Remembered do not Die", so for the remainder of this week I shall blog on those lost individually so we may share in their loss & grieve with Israel for her heroic children. Am Israel Chai!
The fire has destroyed more than 50,000 dunam (12,300 acres) of land and damaged three communities ~ 74 buildings burned down in Kibbutz Beit Oren, Ein Hod, and the Yamon-Ord boarding school, and 173 buildings were partially burned. You can help Rebuild Eretz Israel and those in emergency need in the Haifa region in particular.
Over 5 million trees, some hundreds of years old are reduced to ash & rubble. Please help in the reafforestation of Israel .... Plant a tree in the Carmel Forest Park!!!