ZAKA forces at the scene of the Meron tragedy
ZAKA forces at the scene of the Meron tragedyDavid Cohen/Flash90

The deadly Meron disaster in which 45 people lost their lives in May 2021 was the result of multiple failures, including neglect of crucial infrastructure, ignoring of safety hazards, and political pressures. Newly revealed recordings show an additional failure on the part of the Israel Police that fateful night, Kan News reported.

In the recordings, which were published for the first time Monday evening, police officers in the field can be heard recognizing the danger of the packed crowd. For half an hour they repeatedly asked for reinforcements, but received no response before the deadly disaster occurred.

The recordings were made during the Lag B'Omer bonfire at the Toldot Aharon compound, the exit of which was Gesher Dov. The policemen at Geshet Dov realized that a potential mass casualty incident may be beginning and called for help.

The communications network used by the police at Meron was operated by the Ha'amakim Regional Division. Deputy Superintendent Shalom Avitan, who was the commander of the area and in charge of the entire operation to secure the event, was also supposed to be listening to the police communications. However, the division was pre-occupied with flying a drone over the event and did not respond to the urgent requests of the policemen at the scene.

About three minutes before the disaster, the head of the main command center realized that something was wrong and attempted to contact the Ha'amakim command center. The police in the field realized that the officers were not responding.

Other police forces at Meron also realized that a disaster may unfold and also attempted to contact their superiors - again with no response.

This lack of attentiveness to the communication system left the police at the scene undermanned when the disaster finally unfolded and continued even in the minutes following the crush. Had the officers been more attentive, many lives may have been saved.