A 12-year-old cyclist was killed and an 11-year-old boy was seriously injured in separate incidents over Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which began Wednesday at sundown and ended Thursday evening.
Israelis often take advantage of the generally deserted roads and highways, filling the streets in droves over the holiday.
Barak Houry, a resident of Ramat Gan, was killed while riding his bicycle on Route 4 near the town of Givat Shmu’el in the center of the country on Wednesday evening.
He had been due to celebrate his bar mitzvah in around a month’s time.
He was rushed to the Beilinson hospital in nearby Petah Tikva in critical condition, where doctors later pronounced his death.
Police said in a statement that they arrested a driver on suspicion of killing the teen. Hebrew media named the driver as 45-year-old Eran Azoulay from central Israel, adding that he is suspected of being drunk when he hit the 12-year-old with his vehicle. His remand has been extended until Sunday.
Paramedics said in a statement that the boy was wearing a helmet and protective gear when he was hit.
הנער שנדרס למוות סמוך לגבעת שמואל: ברק חורי בן ה-12.
יהי זכרו ברוך ???? pic.twitter.com/i9xBEKD7jA
— Hai Shmuel (@HaiShmuel) September 16, 2021
Neta Shafir, also 12, said that she met Houry just moments earlier while riding their bikes, and witnessed the deadly crash.
“I stopped next to him, we chatted a bit and I fell in love with him. A sweet boy,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“Suddenly a car arrived at insane speed. It did not try to move to the side, did not try to brake. Just traveled towards us. I screamed in horror and ran to the side [of the road]. I hoped the boy ran away too. But after a split second I heard the horrible boom of the collision,” the girl wrote.
“The road was full of debris. The bike was smashed and flew a few dozen meters ahead. And the sweet-as-honey boy, with whom I only spoke for a second, flew even further, crashed and lost consciousness,” Shafir wrote.
In a separate incident, an 11-year-old boy was seriously injured when he was hit by a vehicle while riding on the Ayalon Highway near the town of Kfar Shmaryahu, also in the center of the country.
According to Hebrew-language reports, the boy remains in an unstable condition at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital.
Medics said that the 52-year-old driver who hit the boy was taken to hospital with light injuries.
Additionally, a 21-year-old motorcyclist was killed in an accident while riding in an open area close to the Kabri Interchange in the north of the country.
Paramedics from the Magen David Adom emergency services treated 2,583 people in Israel during the course of Yom Kippur, the emergency service said in a statement.
There were 226 people injured while riding bicycles, skates, scooters and skateboards. Five of them were in moderate condition.
The emergency service said that 239 people received treatment because they fainted, were dehydrated or felt ill due to the fast.
Paramedics took 1,838 patients to a hospital, including 135 pregnant women.
In addition, medics delivered eight babies — in Jerusalem, the central cities of Elad, Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv, the northern village of Ein al-Asad, and the West Bank settlements of Barkan, Beitar Illit and Modi’in Illit.
Although coronavirus testing was halted for Yom Kippur in most of the country, samples were taken for testing in Arab towns.
The Jewish Day of Atonement is marked by fasting and intense prayer by religious Jews, while secular Israelis take advantage of the deserted roads and highways, filling the streets in droves over the holiday.
As sundown approached on Wednesday, all local radio and television broadcasts gradually fell silent. Public transport was also halted, with buses and trains stopping their routes and Israeli air space closed to flights passing through.
For paramedics, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year, with hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances, and volunteers deployed across the country. Hospitals were working with limited emergency medical crews only.