TEL AVIV – A San Antonio public relations expert and mentor heavily engaged with Israel’s startup tech scene was killed Saturday night when a driver plowed his car into a Tel Aviv café.
Originally from Dallas, Alan Weinkrantz, who also served as Rackspace’s Israel ambassador, shared his time between Texas and Israel and was a familiar face in the local tech ecosystem.
In Israel on a business trip, Weinkrantz was eating dinner at a café in central Tel Aviv when a 41-year-old man lost control of his Audi – likely the result of a heart attack – and crashed the car into the front of the restaurant. The driver, Weinkrantz, and a third man identified as Menashe Raz, a 47-year-old man from Ashdod, were killed in the accident.
Weinkrantz was a senior adviser to James Brehm & Associates, and most recently served as the firm’s brand ambassador for IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data. He also blogged regularly.
Described by friends and associates as warm and effusive, tributes to Weinkrantz flooded social media on Sunday morning.
The tech profiler left behind two children, Aaron and Lauren.
Aaron said his father was scheduled to return to the U.S. on Thursday. Writing on his Facebook page, Aaron said the last few hours have been “been real tough and real, just crazy.”
In recent years, Weinkrantz had been travelling to Israel with increasing frequency.
Borrowing from tech jargon, Weinkrantz described the Jewish state as “the API of humanity.”
“I am honored and privileged to cross paths with people from all over the world who make this magical place their home,” he wrote in a blog for the Times of Israel. “Being here is very purposeful, and those who live and make this place their home are actually setting an example for the rest of the world. This is what makes Israel the API of humanity.”
Menashe Raz was out to dinner with his wife, three children, and sister-in-law’s family when the tragedy struck. His sister-in-law Revital, 25, and niece, Linoy, 22, were both moderately injured.
Local police were quick to quash rumors of a terror attack when word about the crash got out. The city is still suffering the after-effects of a terror attack less than two weeks ago at the Sarona market complex in which four people were murdered.