Rabbi Deri Responds to Criticism of His Involvement in Meron

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90 )

Interior Minister and Shas Chairman Rabbi Aryeh Deri responded to accusations regarding his involvement in the preparations for the Lag BaOmer celebrations in Meron at a special session of the Knesset. He said that he was in favor of “a comprehensive and foundational” investigation into what happened and added that the site should be overhauled and adequate infrastructure built.

“The fact that we can’t do everything that needs to be done … because of legal problems must end,” he continued, in reference to the complex and labyrinthine aspects of land and property ownership at the site.

“The time has come to deal with these problems at their root. We must take responsibility for the entire complex and the construction of adequate infrastructure, as is appropriate for a holy site such as Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai’s kever,” said Rabbi Deri, adding that he would support any such action.

In response to the criticism that he and other chareidi MKs had lobbied hard to remove the corona restrictions from the Lag BaOmer celebrations, he said that this had been only in reference to coronavirus restrictions on crowd numbers and not for the removal or easing of any safety measures.