Senior police official: politicians would not impose a quota on Meron’s presence

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Northern District Police Superintendent Shimon Lavi told the Mount Meron State Commission of Inquiry on Sunday that politicians have blocked all attempts by police to limit visitation to the site surrounding the celebrations of Lag BaOmer.

Lavi is the opening witness to testify before the commission, which is expected to hear from political, religious, security and victim leaders.

On April 30, some 45 men and boys, most of them ultra-Orthodox, died in a mass crash on Mount Meron, the site of the tomb of Talmudic sage Shimon Bar Yohai, where tens of thousands of pilgrims sided. gathered for the annual Lag Ba ‘omer celebrations of what has been Israel’s worst civil disaster.

The previous government of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and various ultra-Orthodox parties, which were at least partially involved in the demand for unlimited participation, refused to create a state commission of inquiry, which would be free from political interference.

This violated the wishes of the majority of the families of the victims who claimed that only a truly independent panel would be able to find who was responsible for the deaths of their loved ones and prevent such a catastrophe in the future.

Meron Commission of Inquiry, August 22. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH 90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government quickly approved a commission of inquiry, and in late June Supreme Court President Esther Hayut appointed a three-member panel to chair the investigation into the state of Meron disaster.

The commission is chaired by former Chief Justice Miriam Naor; the other two members will be Rabbi Mordechai Karlitz and the IDF’s major general. (res.) Shlomo Yanai.

At the time, Hayut said that appointing a state inquiry using this model would ensure the independence of his findings from political considerations and restore public confidence in the state’s handling of the matter.

A statement said Naor was chosen because of her stature as the head of the entire judiciary and her experience in dealing with very complex issues.

Rabbi Karlitz was selected for having served as mayor of Bnei Brak and having experience in construction and design matters, with Meron events in general and with public policies and the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community regarding the integration into the army.

Yanai was selected because of his expertise in logistics and planning matters, both during his time in the IDF and in the private sector since his retirement from the military.

Hayut cited the tradition that when she announced that the survey was on the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tamuz, was a day of fasting in memory of when the walls of Jerusalem were broken during the Roman invasion in 1970. EC. She expressed the hope that this Meron commission would thwart this story by restoring some positivity and stability in Israeli society.


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