Baba Sali Hilula (archive)
Baba Sali Hilula (archive) Hezki Ezra

The police commander of the Negev region, Lt. Gen. Nachshon Nagler, ordered that this year the Hilula for the Baba Sali not take place in Netivot with the participation of the general public and that the general public not be allowed to enter the gravesite and the compound. The event is held every year on the anniversary of the Baba Sali's death.

This instruction was given after the commander of the Negev region realized that there was no reasonable possibility of complying with the provisions of the Safety Law by the date of the celebration event.

This is a celebration in which more than 150,000 people take part each year, but so far no official has taken responsibility for the incident, apparently for fear of a repeat of the Meron disaster in which 45 people were crushed to death.

The Deputy Attorney General demanded that the government appoint a person responsible for the celebration, similar to the Minister of Religious Affairs, Matan Kahana, who is responsible this year for the annual celebration in Meron.

The mayor of Netivot announced a few weeks ago that in the absence of appropriate funding from the government, the municipality would not be able to manage the event.

The police have already threatened in recent weeks to issue an order against the celebration and today the threat was carried out.

In light of inquiries, the police clarified that "the issuance of the order is intended to protect the safety and security of the public in a situation where the safety conditions required at the gravesite and foyer cannot be guaranteed."

"At the same time, if the organizers contact the police today and submit a request to hold the celebration in the large complex, which is spread over 250 dunams, they will immediately be in compliance with the conditions necessary for the celebration according to the Safety Law."