Head of premilitary academy steps down after deadly excursion

Yuval Kahan, principal of the Bnei Zion pre-military academy in Tel Aviv, announced his resignation on Wednesday, a week after 10 of his students died during a field trip to the South.

The students drowned in a flash flood, amid questions over why the trip went ahead despite the severe weather conditions. for questioning on suspicion of negligent homicide.

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In a statement on Wednesday, Kahan announced that he had decided to step down.

“Last Thursday, a terrible and inconceivable disaster occurred in the pre-military preparatory program of Bnei Zion, which I head,” he said. “During the trip, which sought to teach the values of friendship and love of the country, the youths Yael Sadan, Adi Ra’anan, Agam Levi, Ilan Bar-Shalom, Ella Or, Gali Balali, Maayan Barhum, Romi Cohen, Shani Shamir and the young man Tzur Alfi were killed. Since the disaster, I have been torn and broken. I could never find words to express the sorrow I feel. The role of the head of the preparatory program is first and foremost an educational function that requires the full trust of the trainees, their families and all those who are involved in the program.”

In the shadow of the disaster, that essential trust in him could no longer exist and thus Kahan decided to hand in his resignation.

“I am sure that the preparatory program, for the good of its students, teachers and graduates, will continue to grow, to do good and to educate about the values of Zionism, humanity and truth,” he said. “I will continue to be committed to everything that will be required of me for this enterprise and its continuation. I do not have the ability, not even a little, to comfort the families who have lost the most precious of all. I share their terrible pain.”

Danny Zamir, the director of the pre-army preparatory council, said Kahan’s decision was appropriate.

“We have no doubt about Yuval’s great pain and sense of responsibility for the terrible disaster,” Zamir said. “The pre-military preparatory committee will continue to assist and accompany the staff of Bnei Zion and its students in this difficult period, and to support the families of the victims.”