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Friday, April 30, 2021 

Tragedy of tramplings during Lag Ba'Omer gathering of a Haredi sect at Mount Meron

A horrible incident occurred where a Haredi clan gathering in thousands at Mount Meron for the Lag Ba'Omer holiday acted so chaotically in where they were going, that 44 people ended up dead from trampling and stampeding, and hundreds more were injured badly:
At least 44 people were killed and as many as 150 injured, 23 of them critically overnight in a crush at the Lag BaOmer festivities on Mount Meron in northern Israel.

A stampede broke out after Midnight on Thursday at the Jewish religious gathering in the compound occupied by an ultra-Orthodox insular Hasidic movement Toldos Aharon.

The injured were transported to hospitals in the north and the center of the country.

Eli Beer, director of Hatzalah, said he was shocked by the size of the crowd at the Lag BaOmer celebrations at Mount Meron. Police were quoted as saying some 100,000 people were there.

He told Army Radio that there were four to five times the number of people that should have entered a location like this. “More than 40 people died as a result of this tragedy,” he said.

A 24-year-old witness, identified only by his first name Dvir, told the Army Radio station that “masses of people were pushed into the same corner and a vortex was created.” He said a first row of people fell down, and then a second row, where he was standing, also began to fall down from the pressure of the stampede.

“I felt like I was about to die,”
he said.

Firefighters worked to free the trapped, supported by Israeli Air Force helicopters and rescue services.

Police were trying to clear the tens of thousands who attended the event from the area.

A preliminary police investigation revealed that some of the attendees slipped on the stairs, creating a "human avalanche" that crushed members of the crowd.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "heavy disaster."
I vaguely remember Toldos Aharon was a clan that caused a serious horror in Beit Shemesh a decade ago for students at a non-Haredi girls' school. Now, it appears this clan's caused more chaos today by not working safely at a notable site for holidays. This is definitely awful. A police commissioner's taken responsibility for this disaster, and this report also says at least one more person died. But should the police officials really have to take full blame? Somebody else said:
A former top Northern District officer refused to absolve rabbis from partial responsibility for the events.

"The real bosses on the ground at Mount Meron are the Haredi leaders. They have the final say on who gets in or not. That's insane. The power of each Hassidic dynesty is reflected in how things take place on the ground and the police tend to seek compromises with them.

"This is a case of failed management," he continued. "They [the police] should never have allowed so many people into the compound. There are things that have to be verified: were the plans for this event approved [by police brass]? What was the expected capacity? You have to stop letting people in when it's met. Were emergency exits marked? Was the scene under control? All of this has to be reviewed," he said.
The police have some accountability, certainly. But so do the irresponsible gurus of the Haredi clans who apparently failed to instruct their subjects to follow safety procedures. Now, thanks to both them and the incompetent police, this awful nightmare took place.

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