The Maccabiah disaster and a personal tragedy

May 31, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In 1997, Baruch Ben Yigal plunged into the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv to help rescue Australian athletes who fell into its toxic water when the bridge they were crossing on their way to the opening of the Maccabiah opening ceremony collapsed.

Jonathan Goldberg and Baruch Ben Yigal

Four Australians were killed in the tragedy on July 14, 1997, with dozens more injured.

Last night, Baruch addressed members of the Zionism Victoria board.

Ben Yigal was joined at the meeting by Jonathan Goldberg, a junior table tennis player who he saved from drowning that fateful night.

As well as his moving recollections of the bridge disaster, he also recalled the tragic death of his son Amit, who was killed in May 2020 while serving in the IDF when he was struck by a rock hurled from a rooftop by a Palestinian terrorist.

“It was incredibly moving to hear from Baruch,” said Zionism Victoria president Yossi Goldfarb.

“He may have lost a son, but he gained the love and admiration of the entire Australian community, and we are proud and honoured to count him as part of our extended family.”

Jonathan Goldberg and his family have maintained a close relationship with Baruch since that fateful night in 1997.

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