Questions and Answers

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, told a three member commission investigating the April 29 Mount Meron disaster, “We didn’t know there was a problem, nobody told us there was a problem with the Dov Bridge. Nobody brought it up to us.” That became the site where, tragically, 45 people died, mostly Ultra-Orthodox men and boys.

The Lag B’Omer event had drawn around 100,000 worshipers, an annual event that has grown over the years. As Northern District Police Chief Shimon Lavi testified before the panel, “Out of security concerns there has been no limitation on attendance at the Mount Meron site, that’s how it has been done for the past thirty years.” The event, according to Lavi, requires “extensive resources, planning, and preparation,” calling it the Israel Police’s most significant annual event.

The panel of three members consists of former Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor, former Bnei Brak mayor Rabbi Mordechai Karelitz, and former Israel Defense Forces planning chief, Major General (Res.) Shlomo Yanai. They are “investigating safety shortcomings at the site, especially the site of the narrow passageway that led to a bottleneck causing some to slip and fall, leading to the deaths of 45 participants, both young and old. It’s the deadliest civilian disaster in Israel’s history.

The panel’s investigation will determine “how the disaster unfolded and the decision making processes that authorized the event.”

Sadly, it often takes a tragedy to prompt action to correct a problem. That seems to be the case here. Hopefully, the panel’s findings will prevent a future tragedy like this from occurring again.

(Source: The Times of Israel)