First Israeli, a Holocaust Survivor, Dies of Coronavirus

Jewish cemetery: Star of David on the tombstone
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By Ron Kampeas / JTA

Arie Even, the first Israeli to die from the coronavirus, was buried in the dead of night with mourners standing six feet apart and funeral workers wearing Hazmat gear.

Even, 88, a native of Hungary who survived the Holocaust, was a retired Israeli diplomat. He died March 20 at Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem and was buried in the wee hours of Sunday in Jerusalem. As of Monday he is the only Israeli to die of the pandemic.

His pastimes included history, traveling, classical music and cooking, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Even was predeceased by his wife, Yona, of half a century. She died in 2012.

Only one of his four adult children could attend his funeral because of coronavirus-related issues.

The Times of Israel reported that only 20 people were permitted to attend and kept the required “social distance,” two meters, or six feet, and that volunteers from the chevra kadisha, the funeral society, wore full Hazmat outfits.

None of his four children or 18 grandchildren were permitted to visit him as he lay dying in isolation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nearly 1,500 Israelis have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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  1. I am sorry for his death. He was a young teenager when he was liberated, no doubt by the Red Army in the winter of 1945. This virus was spawned in Wuhan, Hubei province, and the Communist Chinese have not released any data in recent days, expelled U.S. journalists, and the Communist Party has accused American troops of spreading it. The last charge, made by them and published in their communist party daily, Xinhua, and is a total falsehood. I am also sorry that over a 1,000 Israelis had to test positive for this Chinese virus. While the Red Army liberated the surviving Jews of eastern Europe, Stalin executed Jewish professionals in late 1952 and was drawing up second list of Jews he wanted killed when he died on March 5, 1953. Lastly, I hope scientists in Israel find a vaccine for the Israeli population. We ourselves have work to do over here, for that matter.


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