Pre-military academy head resigns in wake of flash flood deaths


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The head of a pre-army academy has resigned a week after 10 teens died in a flash flood during a school-sponsored hike.

Yuval Kahan, the principal of the Bnei Zion pre-military academy, released a statement on Wednesday, in which he said he was “torn and broken” over the deaths of the entering students.

“I will never be able to find words that can express the sorrow I feel. The role of the head of the preparatory program is first and foremost an educational role that requires the full trust of the trainees, their families and all those who are involved in the program. I know that in the shadow of this terrible tragedy, this trust, which is the basis for the ability to lead and educate, cannot exist, so I decided to submit my resignation,” he wrote in the statement announcing his resignation.

Nine girls and one boy killed at Nahal Tsafit, south of the Dead Sea, when a flash flood rushed through the riverbed, following unusually heavy rainfall. Fifteen of the hikers were rescued. The hikers were all 17- and 18-year-olds on a bonding trip ahead of entering the pre-military academy in September.

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Kahan and Aviv Bardichev, an instructor at the school who was leading the hike, were released to house arrest for five days beginning on Monday after being arrested the day after the tragedy on suspicion of negligent homicide for ignoring flash flood warnings.