19-year-old Dies of Heat Stroke at a Party in Southern Israel as Temperatures Soar

Multiple Israelis suffered from strokes caused by heat wave across the country

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A sign close to kibbutz Ruhama in southern Israel.
A sign close to kibbutz Ruhama in southern Israel.Credit: Eliyahu Hershowitz

A 19-year-old man died of heat stroke on Saturday at a party in southern Israel.

Ariel Yoav Tsafrir, a soldier in his regular service, was rushed from from venue at the Pura nature reserve in the Negev desert to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva in critical condition and died a few hours later. Eight people were held for questioning to determine the circumstances of the incident.

An initial investigation found that at 6:30 A.M. on Saturday morning Tsafrir wasn’t feeling well and his situation deteriorated but none of the organizers called medics to help or took any steps to get him to a hospital. He was only taken for treatment seven hours later.

Ariel Yoav Tsafrir.Credit: Screenshot/Facebook

On Saturday morning a person called the police to report loud music from the area of Kibbutz Ruhama in the south of the country. He said there were dozens of people there and asked the police to send a vehicle. The police said their vehicle failed to locate the site of the party for two hours. The person who reported the incident said he could send a precise location but the operator told him, “never mind, we’ll manage.”

A police source told Haaretz that cars from three stations had been sent to search for the party but couldn’t find the spot. “The location was in a riverbed and it was difficult to see,” the source said.

A 50-year-old man was also seriously hurt by heat stroke in Kiryat Shmona in the country’s north. He was taken to Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where he was sedated and put on a ventilator. A Magen David Adom paramedic said: “When we arrived to the street, people told us the man had been lying on the sidewalk for an extended period and they called medics when he didn’t respond to them.”

A 57-year-old woman sustained moderate injuries from a heart stroke in the El Al stream in the Golan Heights, and was taken fully conscious to Poriya Hospital in Tiberias.

A second record temperature was set in Jerusalem on Friday night, a day after a 118-year record was broken when the mercury reached 42.3 degrees Celsius. The previous record, from 1902, was 41.1 degrees. The level of Lake Kinneret was measured at its highest point for September in 27 years.

The Israel Meteorological Service says heat records were broken in several places in the country. In Kfar Blum, the mercury went up to 47 degrees, up from a previous record of 43.6 degrees. Eilat hit 46.6 degrees, compared to a previous record of 43 degrees. In Merom Golan the temperature was 40 degrees, breaking a previous record of 38.6. New records were also set in Safed, Arad, Mitzpeh Ramon and other stations in the country.

The heat wave is unusual in its heat and length, said climate and water expert Amir Givati. August and the beginning of September are usually characterized by stable weather systems because of a low pressure system that comes from the Persian Gulf region. But this year, this system was forced out early by desert weather systems coming in from the Red Sea region. These systems cause extreme hot and dry weather in some areas, with very humid weather along the Mediterranean coast.

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