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The Meron Commission of Inquiry: All the details

Meron state commission of inquiry. Wikipedia

Yesterday (Wednesday), the state commission of inquiry into the Meron disaster (called the ‘Naor Committee’, until the death of President Miriam Naor, who was replaced by Justice Deborah Berliner) completed the investigative work it had been conducting over the past three years, and submitted its report to the Israeli government and public. The disaster, as remembered, took place in late April 2021, when during the events of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s celebration (one of the largest public events in Israel), a great deal of human pressure was created due to the procedures of exits, which led to a ‘human collapse’ and the death of 45 people from suffocation and density.

The committee began a discussion of responsibility for the disaster, and later on a discussion of the blame. The responsibility was placed on Prime Minister Netanyahu (who is still in office today), Minister of Public Security Ohana (who currently serves as Knesset speaker), Minister of Religions Yaakov Avitan, and Chief of Police Kobi Shabtai (who is still in office today). According to the committee, the four of them were aware of the problems and dangers, and did not act enough to prevent them. The committee gave symbolic operative recommendations regarding all but the PM – not to appoint Ohana again as Minister of public security, not to appoint Avitan again as Minister in general, and to end Shabtai’s term (which in any case is in a special extension due to the war).

The blame for the disaster was placed on a series of lower-level individuals who did not perform their work faithfully in preparation for the disaster, particularly safety engineer Amer Khalilia and security director Reuven Ben-Gal. It is possible that against some of them, a criminal investigation into negligence will be opened, which can lead to punishment by the state. But the committee has placed the most blame on the management culture of the governmental bodies in Israel, which, according to the conclusions, avoid decision-making, and in many cases avoid the implementation of decisions that were actually made.

The Commission of Inquiry also proposed a solution, at least initially, to solve the administrative problem that caused the Meron disaster: “ “Where there are no people, try to be a man.” We hope that our report will make a significant contribution to the building of a proper society and serve as a compass and road map for the various governing bodies, public officials – with regard to the conduct expected of them as public loyalists and emissaries. “You shall not put blood in your house, turn from evil and do good.” “. Indeed, it is hoped that a comprehensive investigation such as this and these sharp conclusions will lead to the prevention of similar disasters in the future.

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