Three Israelis among rising New Zealand quake death toll

By Jennifer Lipman, March 1, 2011

Two more Israelis have been confirmed dead a week after the New Zealand city of Christchurch was struck by a devastating earthquake.

The death toll from the quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, has climbed to more than 150 with the discovery of the bodies of two tourists from the Israeli town of Rehovot.

Ofer Levy and Gabi Ingel, both 22, had been in New Zealand for more than two months and had planned to find work at a Christchurch vineyard.

Mr Levy’s uncle, Yaakov Levy, said in an interview with Ynet: “We had hopes up to the last minute – as long as they were still considered missing and no bodies were found.

Another Israeli, 23-year-old backpacker Ofer Mizrachi from Kibbutz Magal, was killed when his car was crushed during the earthquake.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to send aid, including medical equipment, to the disaster area.

Last updated: 9:36am, March 1 2011