© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Extremely-Orthodox Jewish males react as they participate in a funeral for Rabbi Elazar Goldberg after he died throughout Lag B’Omer commemorations, in Jerusalem April 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Picture
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A state inquiry right into a stampede in April at a Jewish pilgrimage web site that killed 45 folks, amongst them U.S. and Canadian residents, started listening to testimonies on Sunday to find out what led to Israel’s worst civilian catastrophe.
Tens of 1000’s of ultra-Orthodox Jews thronged the Galilee hillside tomb of second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on April 30 for the annual Lag B’Omer competition that features all-night prayer, mystical songs and dance. Through the ceremony, a part of the group surged right into a slender tunnel and 45 males and boys have been asphyxiated or trampled.
Israel’s authorities watchdog years in the past deemed the Mount Meron web site hazardous. Though the variety of worshippers this 12 months on the web site was decrease than in earlier years, it was nonetheless past these permitted on the time by COVID-19 curbs.
Some Israelis had questioned whether or not the previous authorities underneath Benjamin Netanyahu and police have been reluctant to additional restrict the group measurement due to strain from influential ultra-Orthodox leaders.
Netanyahu had promised a radical investigation, however his cupboard, which included ultra-Orthodox ministers, by no means took formal motion and main hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas broke out lower than two weeks later.
Launched shortly after a brand new authorities was sworn in, the state fee of inquiry holds courtroom powers in that it might probably summon witnesses and require them to provide paperwork or every other proof it deems related. Its findings will likely be introduced to the federal government although they don’t seem to be legally binding.
The hearings are open to the general public and will likely be streamed on-line.
If the panel, headed by a former Tremendous Court docket chief, have been to search out suspicions of prison conduct it must report these to the Israeli lawyer normal. Its first witness on Sunday was the police Northern District Commander Shimon Lavi.
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