Mandelblit Suspends Criminal Investigations Into Meron Tragedy

YERUSHALAYIM -
Barriers block the entrance to the site where 45 victims were killed, on Lag BaOmer in Meron, July 8. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has decided to suspend the criminal investigations into the Meron disaster in April until the state commission of inquiry completes its probe, his office said Monday.

The decision comes after a meeting with the judges leading the state inquiry.

As a result, the probe by the Israel Police and Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department into the crush that killed 45 people will be halted indefinitely.

The new body was tasked by the government with conducting a detailed probe of the disaster and recommending specific changes to the holy site, which draws hundreds of thousands on Lag BaOmer.

But the commission is also tasked with issuing recommendations for proper policies and regulations for mass events, beyond Meron.

The state commission of inquiry can subpoena witnesses, though the report and testimony can’t be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, according to the Israel Democracy Institute think tank.