MK Moshe Gafni
MK Moshe GafniYonatan Sindel/Flash90

In an interview on Reshet Bet on Sunday afternoon, the head of the United Torah Judaism party and chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni, discussed the devastating tragedy that occurred in Meron on Lag b’Omer, in which 45 people lost their lives during the celebrations on the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

“The tragedies are immense and totally incomprehensible,” Gafni said. “What occurred is simply appalling, absolutely terrible. In synagogue today, the person next to me – his grandson was killed. Another person there lost his brother.

“The tragedy is so huge – the State of Israel has never experienced such a situation since its establishment. Each person who was lost was an entire world.”

Gafni related that he himself warned in the past of the dangers inherent in the way the event was managed, and how he personally avoided traveling to Meron on Lag b’Omer.

“I never traveled to Meron for Lag b’Omer,” he said. “And in years past, I would mention, during discussions in the Knesset’s Finance Committee, and also in the Knesset plenum itself, that Meron is like [some primitive village in the Far East]. Things haven’t changed there since the State was established. And I said there’s no way so many people can converge on such a small site without a tragedy occurring.”

Referring to the demands being heard from all quarters for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to investigate the catastrophe, Gafni said, “I am not opposed to such a move, and I am not in favor either. But first of all, the government has to make its own decisions – the government has to first declare what it intends to do at the site. And the real question is: Why didn’t they do anything until now?”