Meron tragedy: Cabinet to vote on Sunday to approve investigation

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Yisrael Beytenu leader and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning that the resolution was the result of joint efforts by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and himself, “which will do justice to the families [of the victims] and prevent the next such disaster in the State of Israel.”

On April 30, some 45 mostly haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men and boys died in a mass crush on Mount Meron, the site of the tomb of Talmudic sage Shimon Bar Yohai, where tens of thousands of pilgrims had gathered for the annual Lag Ba’omer celebrations.

The site suffers from deficient and unsuitable infrastructure, with past government, police and media reports having determined that it must be overhauled to avoid a disaster.

The outgoing government refused to appoint an independent state committee of inquiry, which is headed by a Supreme Court judge.

Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism proposed the establishment of a public committee of inquiry instead, which would have been controlled by government ministers and whose members would have been chosen by them.

When Gantz submitted his proposal to the cabinet earlier this week, he described the need for a state committee as “a basic ethical imperative vis-à-vis the families,” and “in order to prevent tragedies of this nature in the future.”

The resolution is almost certain to be approved.

The Forum of Families of Meron Victims welcomed Gantz’s submission of the resolution on Monday.

“As we have demanded from the outset, and together with MK Moshe Gafni in his letter a month ago on behalf of the United Torah Judaism faction, we hope that an investigative committee into the Meron disaster will be established immediately,” the forum said in a statement to the media.

“This is not a political matter,” it said. “We expect the entire political spectrum to support the establishment of an inquiry committee so that the haredi community will sense that the investigation is carried out with sensitivity and with determination.”

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