Parents of helicopter disaster victims: Our children spat on
Water memorial dedicated to 73 victims of Yasur helicopters crash in 1997 overrun by children, young people who bathe in it. Parents of soldiers who died demand police investigate. 'Boys gave their lives so these people would live, why be disrespectful?’
"You feel like they are spitting on your child." Relatives of IDF soldiers who died in the Yasur helicopter disaster in 1997 were shocked to discover that the memorial to their loved ones had been desecrated.
Civilians who came upon the monument in the area near Moshav She'ar Yashuv in the Upper Galilee, turned the water display into a public pool. Witnesses said that children and teenagers entered the exhibit. "They splashed water and played around like it was a water park," said Ido Ben-Porat, who was passing by.
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Eli Ben-Shem, chairman of Yad Labanim, who lost his son, Kobi Ben-Shem in the disaster said, “I did not sleep all night, I do not believe that people are able to talk like that, to splash in the pool surrounded by the names of the fallen. This reopens the wounds, it's just a disgrace. I will appeal to the attorney general.”
Tammy Goldberg, mother of Sergeant Tomer Goldberg who perished in the disaster, said, "I'm just in shock, I am shocked. It is hard to find the words. I feel that these people do not know to respect anything. I do not understand how there is no respect for people who gave their lives in the military. It's a commemoration, why do you go into it at all? "
Monument becomes pool (Photo: Ido Ben-Porath, Arutz Sheva)
Goldberg added, "Do we need to write, 'No entry to crazy people?’ How far will the audacity go? This cannot be accepted. If this were abroad, I could understand it more, but that the Jews would do such a thing? My son gave his life so these people would live, so why be disrespectful? They deserve punishment."
Monument to the fallen soldiers (Photo: Yaffa Raziel)
Daniel Azoulay, father of First Sergeant Emil Azoulay, also expressed resentment. "It is stupidity, very upsetting, what is there to say. This site is more than holy and there are people who live here and you must respect them. There are signs there, explanations, what, are they blind? It is extremely painful. To what point can people lose it? And if tomorrow this would be on the headstone of their parents, would they feel good about it? The police had to intervene, not to accept this."
Raya Haffner is the mother of Sergeant First Class Avi Haffner, who was killed in the crash. She manages the non-profit that oversees the memorial for casualties of the helicopter disaster. "My first reaction is shock," Haffner said, "We the families established this site and we worked very hard to make it a respectable site. The hundreds of thousands of people who come to the site generally behave in an exemplary manner. We wanted it to be a place that symbolizes hope. To step on it and go inside, it's shocking. You feel as if they spit on your child."
Crash site, 1997 (Photo: Avi Ohion)
Sergeant First Class Nir Ben-Haim also died in the disaster. His mother Yehudit said in reaction to the monument being used as a public pool, "I'm just in shock, this disrespects our children and our families. It's shocking and violates the dignity of the fallen. We will hope that due to the reactions that the matter has earned, it will not be repeated."
The Yasur helicopter disaster occurred on February 4, 1997 and is considered one of the most deadly accidents in IDF history. The crash which killed 73 soldiers and officers took place after two Yasur helicopters on their way to the southern security zone, collided mid-air.
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