Report: Two Days After Meron Disaster, Senior Police Officers Held Secret Meeting


Chief of Police Kobi Shabtai arrives to testify before the Meron Disaster Inquiry Committee, in Yerushalayim, on April 11. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Two days after the Meron disaster, on Lag BaOmer of 2021, in which 45 Jews were tragically killed, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and senior police officers met in order to coordinate their stories of the disaster and thwart the investigation by the National Police, Kan News reported Tuesday night. According to the report, the officials were also involved in shifting the responsibility for the disaster to other factors that were in the decision-making circle.

“Work must be done to advance the scheduled meeting with the attorney-general,” Commissioner Shabtai said at the meeting, with the aim of promoting a state investigative committee and not a special investigation that would only examine the performance of the police in the difficult incident. In the official document that came out of the meeting, the senior officials state that “the recommendation of the police is to establish an external, neutral, objective state committee, which will not be influenced by foreign factors and considerations, while stopping the procedure currently being carried out by the police.”

The one who said the things in the clearest way at the meeting was Chief of Staff David Beitan, who said explicitly, “The purpose of this meeting is to exchange ideas and opinions in order to formulate a course of action. The main question is the question of responsibility. The finger should not be pointed only at the Israel Police.” He added the possibility of involving the politicians in the investigation as well, including then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: “There are materials in the Office of the Attorney General that need to be collected.”

Another of the officials who also participated in the meeting was the legal advisor to the police, Ayelet Elisher, who stated at the meeting: “I agree that the target is a state investigative committee since it is also a matter of political level and private parties.” In addition, Elisher objected to the criminal investigation regarding the disaster: “There is no place for a criminal investigation at this stage. An investigation will paralyze the possibility of a real investigation. There is a long process of years. This is not about evasion but the ability to allow an in-depth investigation.”

In response to the report, Israel Police told Kan: “The incident is under investigation by a state investigative committee and therefore, at this stage, we cannot reply on the substance of things.”

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