Israeli lawmakers expressed their condolences for eight members of a family killed in a car crash Tuesday near the Dead Sea.
Yariv and Shoshi Atar and all six of their children, from the West Bank settlement of Psagot, perished in the fiery wreck on Route 90, a spokesman from Psagot said.
The cause of the head on collision on the winding desert highway is still being investigated, but was immediately followed by calls for bolstering safety measures on the stretch of road, which has seen other deadly crashes in the past.
“This road has been an ongoing danger for many years and even if human or technical factors influence the strength of the accident, in the end we must see how to prevent it,” Zionist Union MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin said.
She called for a divider to be installed separating traffic on Route 90, one of the deadliest highways in the country, and urged Transportation Minister Israel Katz to advance a plan for installing a barrier.
The Transportation Ministry hit back that the accident was being exploited for political ends.
“There are sources trying to take advantage of this terrible disaster in order to spread political libel and accuse the government of baseless allegations,” Hebrew media reports quoted it saying.
Earlier this month, two parents and their 10-month-old baby were killed in head-on collision with a bus on the same highway in the same area.
The Transportation Ministry told Hebrew media that Tuesday’s crash was the deadliest to ever take place on the stretch of road.
A representative for the company maintaining the road told the Ynet news site work was recently done to expand the shoulders and repaint lines.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying his “heart was torn” by the accident offering condolences to the family and residents of Psagot.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed his condolences and mourned the death of the entire Atar family.
“A mother and father. Six children. Gone. Entire lives that are no more. Dreams, love, weddings, children, grandchildren, happiness and moments of sadness — everything will no longer be because of a car accident,” Bennett, who heads the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, wrote on Twitter.
The accident came as hundreds of thousands of Israelis were enjoying a day off for local elections taking place across the country.
According to an initial account, the minivan carrying the Atar family ignited following the accident and some of the dead were killed in the blaze, according to rescuers.
By the time firefighters managed to extinguish the flaming car, the trapped passengers had died.
Three people in the second vehicle suffered moderate and light injuries and were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.