Recordings Show: Police Calls for Help Ahead of Meron Disaster Were Ignored

Outgoing Northern District Commander Shimon Lavi (L) and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai (R) at Mount Meron ahead of the tragedy, April 29, 2021. (Israel Police)

Recordings of police calls to their superiors in the short time prior to the Meron tragedy on Lag BaOmer of 2021 were released Monday by Kan News, highlighting failure on the part of the Israel Police.

Police officers recognized the inherent danger in the situation, and appealed to their superiors for assistance in controlling the crush.

The recordings made it clear that police officers had appealed for assistance and reinforcements to prevent a deadly disaster they felt was imminent, but received no response.

45 Yidden lost their lives in Meron on that fateful Lag BaOmer, in a tragedy that was blamed on multiple failures, including neglect of crucial infrastructure, ignoring of safety hazards, and political pressures.

The communications network used by the police at Meron was operated by the Ha’amakim Regional Division. Deputy Superintendent Shalom Avitan, who was the commander of the area and in charge of the entire operation to secure the event, was also supposed to be listening to the police communications. However, the division was preoccupied with flying a drone over Meron, and did not respond to the urgent requests of the officers at the scene.

About three minutes before the disaster, the head of the main command center realized that something was wrong and attempted to contact the Ha’amakim command center. The police in the field realized that the officers were not responding.

This neglect was part of the reason for the disaster. Had the requests been addressed, many lives could perhaps have been saved.


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