Moran and Reuven Ben Eli (Courtesy) (Courtesy)
Ben Eli parents

Father of family wiped out in car crash awakened from medically induced coma.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Doctors revived Reuven Ben Eli from a medically induced coma on Thursday and broke the news that his wife and three children were killed in Wednesday’s car crash.

Ben Eli’s wife, Moran, and their three children — Annael, Liam and Dekel, ages 5-15 respectively — will be laid to rest Thursday afternoon in Maalot-Tarshish in northern Israel.

Reuven, 36, is listed in moderate to critical condition at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.

The family was wiped out in an accident on Route 89 in the Galilee. A bus carrying teenagers back from a B’nei Akiva religious Zionst youth movement outing swerved out of its lane, hit three cars and overturned. The Ben Elis were on their way to a family celebration in the nearby town of Hatzor, Reuven’s brother Ami told 103 FM.

Ben Eli children

From left, Dekel, Annael and Liam Ben Eli (Courtesy)

“It started as something good that we wanted to do as a family, and in the end this disaster exploded in our faces,” Ami said. “I have a brother who lives there, and he wanted to do a kind of thanksgiving meal, we were all supposed to gather in the synagogue in Hatzor. We finished the afternoon prayers and then we received the worst news of all.”

Ami added that Liam had just begun studying for his bar mitzvah. “We were preparing for the bar mitzvah of my nephew, who was killed yesterday. About 4-5 months before the bar mitzvah there are preparations for the whole family. He had already started to learn for it, and it won’t happen.”

A statement issued by the Ma’alot-Tarshiha municipality said people were “shocked and horrified by the unfathomable tragedy and terrible disaster to afflict our city… An entire family, the Ben-Eli family of Ma’alot-Tarshiha, has suddenly been taken from us.” The statement added that social workers and psychologists had already reached out to stunned family and friends.

It wasn’t clear why the bus swerved from its lane. The bus driver, Asher Basson of Kiryat Yam, was also killed. Hebrew media reported he had 51 prior convictions for traffic violations. Police are investigating the crash. Basson is due to be buried on Thursday.

Emergency responders evacuated 48 of the teens to regional hospitals for treatment. Most were lightly hurt but two were listed in serious condition.

The Ben Eli deaths bring the number of Israelis killed in car accidents to 270.