Three Israelis touring Switzerland were killed Monday when their car crashed into an oncoming train heading to Lucerne. Five family members were wounded and are now in a local hospital.
When authorities found that the victims and survivors were Hebrew speakers, Rabbi Chaim Drukman, Chabad Shliach in Lucerne, was notified.
He was told that they are Muslims from Israel who need help communicating. The rabbi, working in tandem with the Israeli consulate in Bern and local Israelis, quickly made his way to the hospital.
Although the assumption was that they were Muslims, “that wasn’t relevant,” said Drukman. “The important thing to me was that there were people here in trauma, in a foreign country, without the language and familiarity. They are Hebrew speakers and needed our help.”
After some confusion about how the family wanted the dead to be attended, Drukman learned that the victims and survivors were not Muslim, but Druze Israeli citizens. Two of the dead were officers with the Israeli Police Force. The son of one of the wounded is now a soldier in the IDF.
(One of the wounded is a brother of Azam Azam, the Israeli Druze businessman who was accused of espionage when he visited Egypt on business in 1996. He served eight years in an Egyptian prison before being released to Israel.)
In a phone conversation with lubavitch.com, Drukman said that the victims’ family members from Israel will be coming within the next day.
“They will need a lot of help while they are here, and I will do my best to reach out to them and provide them with assistance as they go through this difficult period, mourning for their loved ones and recovering from their injuries.”
Knowing that the victims were representatives of the Israeli police dedicated “to protecting our people in Israel” makes his work in this case, he said, especially meaningful.