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Hareidi Media Calls for Inquiry into Meron Crisis

Hareidi media calls for inquiry over organizational failures that left tens of thousands stranded.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/29/2013, 2:27 PM

Waiting for buses in Meron
Waiting for buses in Meron
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The organizational failures that left tens of thousands of people stranded in Meron following Lag Ba’Omer celebrations at the site have sparked calls for a government inquiry.

The hareidi-religious media in particular called for change Monday. The top headline in Yated Neeman read, “The Mother of All Collapses,” quoting MK Uri Maklev. Another article in the paper called for an investigative committee to determine what led to the breakdown in the flow of transportation.

The hassidic community newspaper Hamevaser had a front-page report on the “total collapse of transportation at Mount Meron, as thousands made the trip by foot and many required medical attention.” The report included quotes from MKs with the hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (United Torah Judaism) faction calling to hold those responsible for the failure to account.

Hamevaser pointed a finger at both organizers and police. Organizers should have realized there would be problems, the report said, “They saw the data.”

In addition, “The police response was very slow,” the paper charged. “If police had taken the same steps that they took [Sunday] morning at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. instead, there is no doubt that what we saw would not have happened.”

The Magen David Adom first-response group reported Monday that paramedics treated 387 people at Meron from Friday morning to Sunday night – more than twice as many as during the 2012 Lag Ba’Omer celebration at the site.

Those who sought MDA care were suffering from a variety of injuries and illnesses, including injuries from falls, dehydration and drunkenness. A man in his 40s suffered burns and smoke inhalation from a fire that broke out in the area, and was airlifted to Ziv Hospital in Tzfat in moderate to serious condition.