Calls Mount for State Inquiry Into Meron Tragedy

YERUSHALAYIM -
A large crowd attends the levayah of Reb Elazar Gefner, z”l, one of the victims of the Meron tragedy, in Meron, on Motzoei Shabbos. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Calls are mounting in Israel for a formal state inquiry into the deadly stampede at Meron early Friday in which 45 people were killed.

Calls for an inquiry by a state commission also come from high-profile officials, including ex-Israel Police chief Moshe Karadi.

Reports suggest that Defense Minister Benny Gantz is privately telling his closest allies that a panel must be set up to investigate the incident.

The Forum of Retired Superintendents turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday and called on him to set up a state inquiry.

In a letter addressed to Gantz, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, the former senior officials called for “the establishment of a state commission of inquiry to clarify the facts, draw conclusions and make recommendations for evaluations for the next event.”

According to them, “the Mount Meron incident is not the domain of the Israel Police alone. It involves other security officials, government ministries and other authorities, both in staff work processes and in the decision-making process, with the division of responsibilities between bodies for planning, management and execution in complete blindness.”

“There must be an in-depth and secret investigation of all the bodies involved in this incident and the like and especially to prevent a similar disaster in the future. There is no option but to establish a state commission of inquiry as soon as possible,” they added.

The former senior officials stressed, “The Israel Police and its people have in the past dealt with commissions of inquiry that have been appointed to investigate alleged failures, and despite the difficulties, the Israel Police has always come out strengthened.”