Mayhem in Meron – Mixed Emotions by the Tzion of Rashbi

By Hamodia Staff

Busses waiting in the parking lots in Meron. (Point Press Network)

The elevated atmosphere of joy and celebration of Lag Ba’omer at the tzion of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai was intermingled with feelings of pain and frustration as thousands of people were stranded in parking lots and on the roads leading to Meron due to a breakdown in the system that was ostensibly put in place to facilitate a safe an efficient gathering this year after the tragic events of the past year.

According to reports of some participants, the police were ill prepared for the occasion and a lack of coordination between various units on the mountain and down below caused a bottleneck and later a total collapse of what was supposed to be an orderly operation to control the myriad people and large crowd that was expected to attend.

Complaints were heard that while hundreds of people were observed descending from the mountain, no one waiting to enter was allowed to ascend and take their place, leaving much empty space which could have been filled with those who made the long trip to Meron.

At one point, due to what the police described as attempts by some to break through the barriers set in place to limit access to the mountain and control the crowds, the commanding officers ordered closure of the entire entrance to the mountain, causing a bottleneck which denied entry to the thousands of ticket-carrying people in the parking lots and stuck on the road in stifling busses.

Many complaints were lodged at the police for leaving these people, many of them elderly or young children travelling to their chalakah, without water or sanitary facilities.

In the end, there were thousands of people stranded along the way, and many never managed to complete the journey they had planned for and looked forward to for so long.

There were allegations of excessive force used by police against the visitors, with some saying that while the officers may have been trained in riot controls and treated the people as rioters, they should have been trained in crowd control instead and treated them with respect.

Many felt that the police looked with disdain at the event in general, with no respect for the holy occasion, and had acted with contempt and scorn to the religious participants in the hilulah.

Several people, which according to reports included a father who brought his son for his chalakah, were arrested.

Reports are still murky at this point, and Hamodia will publish a more comprehensive account in a future edition.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!