Israeli inquiry into lethal Mount Meron stampede begins hearings

The fee investigating the lethal accident on the Jewish pilgrimage web site in April holds the primary listening to.

An Israeli authorities fee investigating a lethal accident at a Jewish pilgrimage web site in April held its first listening to, almost 4 months after the stampede at Mount Meron killed 45 folks.

The April 29 incident on the Jewish competition in northern Israel was the deadliest civilian catastrophe within the nation’s historical past. About 100,000 worshippers, principally ultra-Orthodox Jews, attended festivities regardless of coronavirus laws limiting out of doors assemblies to 500 folks, and despite longstanding warnings concerning the security of the positioning.

Hundreds of individuals bottlenecked in a slim passageway descending the mountain, and a slippery slope induced folks to stumble and fall. The ensuing human avalanche killed 45 folks and injured no less than 150.

In June, the Israeli authorities permitted the formation of an unbiased state fee of inquiry to examine security shortcomings on the Lag Baomer celebrations at Mount Meron.

A panel headed by former Supreme Court justice Miriam Naor started proceedings on Sunday with testimony from Northern District police chief Shimon Lavi, the officer who was accountable for managing the occasion.

Lavi stated the Mount Meron festivities are the Israel police’s most important annual occasion, requiring intensive assets, planning and preparation.

He stated out of security considerations “there has been no limitation on attendance at Meron, that’s how it has been done for the last 30 years”. Any try to restrict entry and put up barricades might end in “bottlenecks and much greater disasters”, he stated.

The web site in northern Israel is believed to be the burial place of celebrated second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The tomb complicated and adjoining constructions are managed by the Religious Services Ministry’s division for holy locations.

Experts had lengthy warned that the Mount Meron complicated was inadequately geared up to deal with the big crowds that flock there throughout the springtime vacation, and that current infrastructure was a security threat.

But April’s gathering went ahead this yr nonetheless as highly effective ultra-Orthodox politicians reportedly pressured then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and different authorities officers to carry attendance restrictions.

Lavi stated there had been “neglect for many years” and “a lack of understanding that the event grew over time and that the infrastructure was not adequate, rather a kind of band-aid”.

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