Israeli haematologists who were killed in a plane crash in Switzerland
Professors Yaacov Matzner and Amiram Eldor were on their way back to Israel via Switzerland when their plane came down in dense forest three kilometres short of the landing field. They had been lecturing at an international haematology conference in Berlin and had booked the flight to Zurich so that they could return to their patients early on Sunday morning instead of taking a later flight back with their colleagues.
Yaacov Matzner (left) and Amiram Eldor
Professor Matzner, dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem and chairman of the Israel Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusions, was the son of Holocaust survivors. One of the world's experts on blood diseases including familiar Mediterranean fever (FMF), Matzner conducted research that led to a genetic test for FMF. He was working on cloning the gene connected to FMF and investigating the normal physiological function of amyloid A, a protein often found in high levels in people with blood cancer. As medical school dean, he was credited with bringing in new technological teaching methods and of inculcating his strict code of medical ethics in his students. He leaves a wife, Linesya; and two children.
Professor Eldor worked for years at Hadassah-University Hospital's haematology department but left for his native Tel Aviv in 1993 to head the haematology institute at Ichilov Hospital. He was an internationally known expert on blood clotting—especially in women who had repeated miscarriages—and was a member of a team that identified eight new anti-clotting agents in the saliva of leeches. He leaves a wife, Sofia; and two sons.
Yaacov Matzner, dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem; b Czechoslovakia 1947; q Jerusalem; died in a plane crash on 24 November 2001.
Amiram Eldor, head of the haematology institute, Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital; b Tel Aviv 1942, q Jerusalem; died in a plane crash on 24 November 2001.