— Travel n Tour

Israel begins burying victims of deadly stampede at Jewish pilgrimage site

Israel on Friday was burying victims of a stampede at a Jewish pilgrimage site that killed at least 45 people, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an investigation into one of the nation’s “worst disasters”.

The nighttime carnage struck after pilgrims thronged to Meron at the site of the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. This second-century Talmudic sage, mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredim, marks the Lag BaOmer holiday.

The health ministry put the toll at 45 dead. The Magen David Adom rescue agency said an estimated 150 had been injured.

With families anxious to bury loved ones before the Shabbat break, funerals were held in Jerusalem and the mainly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, where Haredi men in traditional long black coats lined the streets to mourn.

Israeli ultra-Orthodox mourners attend a funeral of a man who died in the stampede.

Shalom Levy, attending a funeral, called the stampede “a tragedy for the Jewish people”.

Among the victims was 38-year-old Elazar Goldberg, whose father called on God to protect his children as his son was laid to rest in Jerusalem.

The pilgrimage was Israel’s most significant public gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted last year.



Officials had warned overcrowding could fuel viral spread and only authorized 10,000 to attend.

Israeli media outlets said 90,000 were massed at the site, which official sources could not immediately confirm.

There were conflicting reports about what caused the deadly crash, but multiple witnesses said scores of people trampled each other as they moved through a narrow passage.

“What happened here is heartbreaking. There were people crushed to death, including children,” Mr. Netanyahu said after a visit to the pilgrimage site. stampede” src=”https://sl.sbs.com.au/public/image/file/4cbb3899-8774-45f5-918b-4db74460d131″ alt=” Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Petah Tikva mourn during the funeral of a victim of the stampede” width=”700″ height=”467″ />

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Petah Tikva mourn during the funeral of a victim of the stampede.


The “Mount Meron disaster” was “one of the worst to hit” Israel since its foundation seven decades ago, Mr. Netanyahu added, promising a “thorough, serious and in-depth investigation to ensure that such a disaster does not recur”.

He later took part in a blood drive for the injured in Jerusalem and declared that Sunday would be a national day of mourning.

Closed last year due to coronavirus restrictions, this year’s pilgrimage drew tens of thousands of people who were seen packed together joyfully singing, dancing, and lighting bonfires before the deadly crash.

In a cruel irony, the Lag BaOmer holiday celebrates the end of a plague that killed thousands of Talmudic students at the time of Rabbi Bar Yochai.


Some witnesses blamed the police for not allowing people to exit through a ramp that could have allowed them to escape the crash.

The police “closed it (the ramp). Then, more people arrived, and more and more … and police wouldn’t let them exit, so people started to fall on top of each other”, Shmuel, 18, told AFP.

Indications also indicated that pilgrims sought to burst through iron sheet barricades as the choke point formed.

“It took me back to the period of (Palestinian militant) bombings. There was chaos, people trying to save themselves as they crushed each other,” Dov Maisel of the United Hatzala rescue services said.

Northern Israel’s police chief Shimon Lavi said his officers had done all they could to save lives on a “tragic night”, helping ferry those injured to the hospital.

Mr. Lavi said he was prepared to assume “overall responsibility”.

Military and rescue service helicopters evacuated the wounded.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button