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Coordinates: 33°13′20″N 35°38′28″E / 33.22222°N 35.64111°E / 33.22222; 35.64111

Monument for the 73 soldiers killed in the collision.

The 1997 Israeli helicopter disaster occurred on 4 February 1997. 73 Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed when two Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion Yas'ur 2000 helicopters, 357 and 903, collided over She'ar Yashuv in northern Israel. The helicopters were supposed to have crossed the border into Israel's "security zone" in Lebanon, but were hovering while waiting for official clearance to go. Previously Israel had moved troops by ground, but this policy was changed as the threat of roadside bombs from Hezbollah increased.[1]

Bodies were brought to the Reading Funeral Home in North Tel Aviv, where identifications were made.

The crash brought about widespread national grieving. Thursday, 6 February, was declared an official day of mourning, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Ezer Weizman attended funerals and visited the grieving families. In addition, thousands of Israelis went to pray at the Western Wall and assemblies were held at schools nationwide.

A commission headed by David Ivry was set up to investigate the cause of the collision, the deadliest air disaster in Israeli history. The committee finished its investigation in mid-April of the same year. It had been unable to find the definite cause of the mid-air collision, noting that the pilots appeared in good health and that no external causes could be found.

In 2013, there was a controversy over children using the memorial to the crash as a swimming pool.[2]

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