Israel orders investigation into Mont Meron’s death stamped | News in the Middle East


The scan in April killed 45 people at a Jewish pilgrimage site long considered dangerous by authorities.

The new Israeli government approved an official investigation into a stampede in April that killed 45 people and injured dozens at a Jewish pilgrimage site that has long been dangerously crowded by authorities.

Although it was the worst civil disaster in the country, a large-scale investigation into it Death at Mount Meron it is lagging behind the previous government amid a quarrel between its ultra-Orthodox Jews and opposition politicians.

“The responsibility to learn the lessons and prevent the next disaster is on our shoulders,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday at his first cabinet meeting.

“A commission cannot report those who are dead, but the government can do everything to prevent unnecessary loss of life in the future.”

A cabinet statement said the findings of the investigation helped safeguard other mass presence events in Israel, which has sacred sites for Islam and Christianity as well as for Judaism.

Authorities considered the site of Mount Meron dangerous years ago [File: Reuters]

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews flocked to the tomb on the hill of Galilee of the sage of the second century Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on April 30 for the annual Lag B’Omer festival which includes all-night prayer, singing mystics and dance.

The numbers this year have been lower than in previous years but also beyond those allowed by the COVID-19 curbs.

Some Israelis have questioned whether the former government under Benjamin Netanyahu and the police were reluctant to further limit the size of the crowd because of pressure from ultra-Orthodox influential leaders.

During the ceremony, part of the crowd gathered in a narrow tunnel and the 45 men and males they were asphyxiated or trampled.

Police have already conducted a probe and the Israeli government’s watchdog, which years ago considered the Mount Meron site dangerous, has announced its own investigation, even though it cannot bring criminal charges.

Netanyahu had promised a thorough investigation, but his cabinet, which included ultra-Orthodox Jewish ministers, never took formal action and major hostilities between Israeli and Palestinian groups in Gaza erupted less than two weeks later.

Bennett is himself religiously careful but his broad coalition does not include ultra-Orthodox parties. In his cabinet remarks, he said Meron pulls Jews “from all walks of life,” an allusion to denominations other than ultra-Orthodox.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who advocated for the investigation, said his findings would carry a “heavy weight” and could not be ignored.

The commission of inquiry, led by a judge, will have a balance of six million shekels ($ 1.8 million), the government said.





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