'Give me back my children alive!' cries mother of two victims of Meron disaster

Rabbi Batzri lost 3 close relatives. "G-d picked the most beautiful flowers from His garden, but it is so, so hard."

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Meron disaster aftermath
Meron disaster aftermath
David Cohen/Flash90

Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri lost three relatives in the Meron tragedy last week, including his wife’s cousin, Rabbi Yisrael Alnekaveh, aged twenty-four, and two young nephews, Yosef David Elhadad, eighteen years old, and his younger brother Moshe Mordechai, twelve years old.

On Sunday, Rabbi Batzri was interviewed on Radio 103FM, and in a voice choked with tears he related his personal experience of the unprecedented disaster.

“Last night, we went to the funeral of my two young nephews,” he said. “And before that, my wife’s cousin, Rabbi Yisrael Alnekaveh. He was a pure, holy person, blessed with great wisdom – and such a good person, a truly good person. It’s hard to believe that only a short while ago we were dancing at his wedding.

“But hardest of all is the children – it’s just impossible to comprehend. I was so close to them. They would have grown up to be truly great people. They were devoted to Torah learning, with a depth of understanding; and they treated everyone with such respect – they had such refined characters.

“G-d took the good people – He picked the most beautiful flowers from His garden. It’s so hard… We didn’t sleep the entire night. For the last few days, we have done nothing but cry. It’s impossible to describe this in words. My sister-in-law cried out, ‘I gave them life – give them back to me alive!’ How can I explain to you how hard it was to hear such words? A person who loses a child – he has no life. It’s like he himself dies. Somehow, we have to help these parents cope, somehow.

“And we have to think about what we can do for these parents, after the week of shivah [mourning] is over. How are we going to look them in the eyes and give them the strength to continue with their lives?”

Rabbi Batzri stressed, “We are demanding that a commission of inquiry be established, because our Torah tells us to ‘Take very good care of your lives.’ We are not permitted to put ourselves in danger. Right now, there is incredible anger at the government for failing to adequately prepare the site [in Meron] for the yahrtzeit events. Everything there is falling apart, and it should have all been dealt with a long time ago. It is not permitted to rely on a miracle occurring and to expect that somehow, everything will turn out all right.

“I won’t be going back to Meron for next Lag b’Omer,” Rabbi Batzri said. “And I won’t allow my children to go either. But we aren’t looking to point fingers at guilty parties. We believe – we have faith – that those who died sacrificed their lives for some higher purpose. Those of us who remain must take the lessons to heart.”