TWO pairs of young brothers are among 45 killed in the devastating stampede of the Lag B’Omer festival like panicked madmen funneled into a tiny “death trap” tunnel.
The disaster occurred in Meron, Israel, shortly after midnight, when the Jewish faithful gasped and others were crushed to death.
While survivors recount horrific scenes, the names of two pairs of young brothers who died in the accident have been revealed.
Yosef and Moshe Elhadad, aged 18 and 12, from northern Israel, and Moshe and Joshua Englander, aged 14 and 9, from Jeruselum were all killed.
Others who lost their lives in the stampede were Yosef Amram and Eliezer Tzvi Yoza’af, 26, American, 11-year-old father Shimon Matalon, 38, and Shraga Gestetner, a Montreal rabbi and signatory.
The father of four, Rabbi Elizer Goldberg, 37, also died in the horror incident, as did Menahem Zeckbach, whose wife is pregnant with their second child, and 20-year-old Moshe Ben Shalom.
According to the Orthodox tradition, the funeral has already begun for the victims.
More than 100,000 people gathered on Mount Meron for the largest gathering held in the country since the start of the Covid epidemic.
Survivors recounted the horrific scenes from the religious festival, with the chaos that ensued as attendees slipped down a narrow metal walkway as thousands tried to leave, causing a fatal dunk as the bodies piled into each other. , injuring at least 150.
A survivor who was hospitalized told public broadcaster Kan that he was left lying on someone who was not breathing.
He said, “There were screams, chaos. I saw children underneath me. The only thing that crossed my mind was that I didn’t want my son to be an orphan.”
Another survivor named David told Ynet: “Our bodies were dragged by themselves. People were thrown into the air, others were crushed to the ground.
To my chagrin, we found small children who had been crushed, tried to resuscitate them, and in some cases managed to save them.
“There was a guy there who kept pinching my leg, fighting for his life. We’ve been waiting to be saved for 15-20 minutes in this crazy, terrible crush. it was terrible. “
Another pilgrim said the participants were being pushed and dragged.
“After 20 minutes I think people started choking, so they wanted to get out, but no one was able to get out,” he said.
There were people below me who were no longer breathing. There were horrible screams of “I can’t breathe”. “
An early police investigation revealed that the slide created a “human avalanche,” according to Ynet News.
Witnesses said policemen blocked the exit and a police chief admitted the tunnel was dangerous.
Eli Beer, the head of Hatzalah’s rescue services organization, said young children were among the victims.
“To my chagrin, we found small children who had been crushed, we tried to resuscitate them and in some cases we managed to save them,” he said.
“We have to wake up, it’s shocking how many people have been allowed in.”
Only 10,000 people were supposed to attend the event, but a crowd of 100,000 showed up.
Shoes, hats, strollers, broken glasses and water bottles were left scattered on the ground in the walkway, while the metal railings were ripped from the ground.
It looks like …
- Survivors say the police were “blocking” the exits during the horror of the crush
- Eyewitnesses said they saw children crushed to death during the chaos
- Worshipers claim that crowds sliding down a walkway have started a death crush
- An investigation into the conduct of policemen during the chaos was launched
- Only 10,000 should have attended, but there was a crowd of 100,000
An investigation into the possibility that police negligence caused the stampede was launched.
Northern District Commander Shimon Lavi, who oversaw safety arrangements at the site, said Friday morning that he took responsibility for the disaster.
“I have overall responsibility, for better or for worse, and I am ready for any investigation,” he said.
He added that the precise cause of the disaster remained unclear.
Investigators were sent to Meron to gather evidence.
What is the Lag B’Omer festival?
LAG B’Omer is a Jewish religious holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which began on March 28 and ends on May 16.
The day in the Hebrew month of Iya remembers Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who lived in the second century.
The day marks when he revealed the secrets of the Kabbalah – a school of thought in Jewish mysticism – in the Zohar, or Book of Splendor.
The festival includes the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the Yochai Bar tomb in Meron and customs at the tomb.
Another tradition that makes it a day of celebration is the anniversary of the plague that killed the 24,000 disciples of the leading Jewish scholar Rabbi Akiva, coming to an end around 100 AD.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said: “It has been decided that the Police Internal Investigation Department will immediately investigate whether there are suspicions of police crime in the Meron tragedy.”
Paramedic Dov Maisel described “chaotic” scenes in which rescuers were desperately trying to save as many lives as possible.
He told Good Morning Britain: “I started hearing screams and screams … and immediately all the teams were alerted to the scene.
“It’s so worrying … too many children and teenagers have been injured and families separated, it’s chaos.”
Mr. Maisel said attendees were crushed when tens of thousands tried to force themselves through a narrow passage.
It has been decided that the Police Department of Internal Investigation will immediately investigate whether there are any suspicions of police crime in the Meron tragedy
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit
He said: “It’s a very small area on top of the mountain, and thousands and thousands of people have flocked to this area, more than we expected.
“There was a bottleneck where people were squeezed next to each other as they tried to reach an exit.
“People screamed behind them to stop people from passing.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the tragedy a “serious disaster”.
MDA spokesman Zaki Heller told Ynet news that the deaths were caused by severe overcrowding.
Dad, 40, stabbed “defending son” to death in the queue of a London bus named after being held by a man
Covid surge test implemented in 4 areas of the zip code to stop the spread of the SA variant
DANCE TRACK DELIGHT
After 406 days, the UK’s first nightclub reopens for the “Covid-safe” test event
Meg and Harry “hypocrites” for leaking private correspondence with Kate and Will
The official Covid R rate has risen again and may be above 1 in some areas
Noel Clarke uses the microphone as an obscene object and says “Don’t do this at work, you will be imprisoned”
The mass gathering took place at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for the annual commemorations when the structure collapsed.
Videos posted on social media showed chaotic scenes in which ultra-Orthodox men scrambled through cracks in ripped corrugated metal sheets to escape the crush as police and paramedics tried to reach the wounded.
The disaster is one of the worst peacetime tragedies in Israel’s history, equaling the death toll from the 2010 Mount Carmel bushfire.