The 10 high school students who were killed after they were swept away in torrential floods during a hike near the Dead Sea were named late Thursday and Friday morning.
They were part of a group of 25 students who had been accepted to the Bnei Zion pre-military academy in Tel Aviv for the coming year, and were on a hike organized by the school.
Nine girls and one boy were killed after the trip to Nahal Tzafit, a riverbed in the southern Dead Sea area, ended in tragedy.
The body of the final fatality, a girl, was found in the area early Friday morning.
Two other students were lightly to moderately injured, and the remaining 13 were located and rescued unharmed.
The 10 fatalities were identified as of Friday morning as Shani Shamir from the central city of Shoham; Ella Or from Ma’ale Adumim; Maayan Barhum and Yael Sadan from Jerusalem; Tzur Alfi, the only boy who was killed, from the central town of Mazkeret Batya; Agam Levy from the central Israeli town of Herut; Romi Cohen of Maor, near Hadera; Gali Balali from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim; Adi Raanan of the northern Israel moshav of Mikhmoret; and Ilan Bar Shalom of Rishon Lezion.
The funerals of most of the students were to be held on Friday, beginning at noon, in their respective hometowns.
The death of Sadan, a graduating dance student in Jerusalem’s High School for the Arts, was announced by the school on its Facebook page.
“She was a stunning, smiley girl with a sense of humor, a talented dancer and a skilled choreographer,” said her dance teacher, Lian Yaffa Siegfeld. “It was always fun to be with her.”
Alfi was “a fantastic kid, athletic, and just three weeks ago he starred in a theater performance,” Meir Dahan, head of Mazkeret Batya Regional Council, told the Ynet news site. “A child with values, a sociable person who aspired to be an educator.”
Shamir was “an amazing girl, outstanding, a scout leader and down to earth,” the city of Shoham, a few kilometers east of Rishon Lezion, said.
Or, from Ma’ale Adumim, “was one of the best students,” her principal said. “She was a girl who could take responsibility and who was always eager to help and act on behalf of others.”
Her five siblings also gave a statement about her. “You were the youngest girl in our family,” they wrote. “The most beautiful flower, the most charming and sweet smile, always caring, always embracing, always optimistic, the most talented and successful sister in the family.”
Heavy rain battered the country for a second day on Thursday, leading to flash floods in the Negev and West Bank.
One hiker was still missing after darkness fell, and police suspended efforts to find the girl due to the harsh weather conditions.
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“We will keep going until we find them all,” police spokesperson Meirav Lapidot told reporters at the scene.
But early Friday morning, rescue crews found a body near Neot Hakikar, south of the Dead Sea. Hadashot news said the body was the missing hiker and the elite Unit 669 search-and-rescue team was assisting in the operation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other lawmakers expressed condolences to the families of the teenagers Thursday evening.
“The State of Israel mourns the promising young lives that were cut short by this tragedy in the Arava,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett expressed condolences over the “heavy tragedy,” and said his ministry would remain in contact with the deceased students’ high schools in the coming days.
President Reuven Rivlin said the entire country was “mourning the loss of young promising lives in the heavy disaster.” He said Israel “embraces” the grieving families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov also expressed condolences for the tragedy, saying his “thoughts and prayers are with all in #Israel and the families of the nine children, who were tragically killed in torrential rains today around #NahalTzafit.”
“Incredible rescue teams have saved fifteen children and continue their work,” he said in a tweet.
On Thursday night, police launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
The head of the Tel Aviv-based Bnei Zion pre-army preparatory program and two staff members were reportedly questioned by police. According to unconfirmed reports, they are suspected of negligent homicide for holding the hike despite flood warnings in the area.