Pre-military academy that lost 10 students to flash flood closes to ‘rebuild’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The pre-military academy that suffered the deaths of ten incoming students in a flash flood during a school-sponsored hike in southern Israel will close temporarily.

Joint Council of Pre-Military Academies announced the temporary closing of the Bnei Zion Academy on Wednesday, Ynet reported.

The council “sees great value in the continued existence of the Bnei Zion Academy as part of the family of academies,” it said in a statement.

The council said it would partner with the academy to “rebuild” its program  in a “process that is public and transparent.”

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“We believe that the academy should not be opened before the completion of this process,” it said.

Nine girls and one boy were killed at Nahal Tsafit, south of the Dead Sea, when a flash flood rushed through the riverbed, following unusually heavy rainfall on April 26. Fifteen other 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.

Yuval Kahan, the school’s principal, resigned a week later. He is suspected of causing death by negligence, following a police investigation. The trip’s guide, Aviv Berdichev, who planned the hike and then went ahead with it despite warnings, is suspected of manslaughter.