Volunteers in protective gear bury Israel’s first virus victim; 20 at funeral
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Volunteers in protective gear bury Israel’s first virus victim; 20 at funeral

88-year-old Jerusalem resident Aryeh Even, a Holocaust survivor, is laid to rest at ceremony constrained by pandemic

The funeral of Aryeh Even, Israel's first coronavirus victim, March 21, 2020 (Ynet screenshot)
The funeral of Aryeh Even, Israel's first coronavirus victim, March 21, 2020 (Ynet screenshot)

Israel’s first fatality in the coronavirus pandemic, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even, was laid to rest in Jerusalem overnight Saturday-Sunday.

The funeral service at the Givat Shaul cemetery was capped at 20 mourners, and all were required to stand at a two-meter (6.5 ft) distance from one another, according to Channel 12.

Some members of the burial society, or chevra kadisha, were dressed in full protective gear, according to photographs from the funeral.

In a statement announcing his passing on Friday night, Even’s family said they regretted that they were unable to be by his side for his final moments.

Aryeh Even, Israel’s first fatality in the coronavirus pandemic (Courtesy)

“He was a dear and beloved man, living a full life, devoted to his family, a strong man until the end. We are sorry to have passed his last days and moments at a time when his family members were prevented from being by his side.”

Even immigrated to Israel alone from Hungary in 1949. He is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center said late Friday that Even had been admitted in very serious condition with multiple preexisting conditions. Despite intensive treatment, including resuscitation after heart failure, his state deteriorated rapidly and he died, the hospital said.

Medical staff seen after the arrival of a patient to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, over suspicions she may be infected with the Coronavirus on January 27, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Even was among several residents of the Nofim Tower senior home in Jerusalem who have contracted the virus.

The virus generally only shows mild symptoms in the young and healthy, but can cause serious respiratory issues and death in older adults and those with underlying conditions.

According to the Health Ministry’s latest figures released Saturday, there have been 883 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Israel, with 15 people in serious condition.

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