There have been growing demands for a state inquiry into the tragedy during the Lag B’Omer celebrations last week that killed 45 people in a crash and injured more than 150.
At a meeting of senior police commanders, Shabtai said he would make a formal request to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to set up a state commission of inquiry, Channel 13 reported on Monday.
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At one point during the Monday morning meeting, Ohana arrived and, after learning of Shabtai’s intention, requested to speak with the chief privately. When they returned to the room, Northern District Commander Shimon Lavi also expressed his request for the state’s investigation, at which point Ohana requested to speak to him as well, in private, according to the report.
What was said between the minister and the two policemen was not reported but no request was made by Shabtai to Mandelblit.
Police responded that during the meeting, Shabtai called for an investigative committee to be established to examine the circumstances of the disaster and the role of all organizations involved. Other options were also raised, including by Shabtai himself, the statement said.
Ohana spoke with the police chief and others before and after the meeting, but before a final decision was made on the matter, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman announced a special investigation into the disaster, which is different from a state commission of inquiry.
“Therefore, it was decided at this point to wait for the outcome,” police said.
A statement on behalf of Ohana said that “as usual in recent days attempts are being made to attribute allegations and actions to the Minister and the police which bear no relation to the truth. So also in this case.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather at Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s grave in Mount Meron, northern Israel, April 29, 2021, as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer (JALAA MAREY / AFP)
Later that day, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that there was no legal obstacle preventing the current interim government from forming a state commission of inquiry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Hebrew media, fears the political repercussions of such an investigation.
The tragedy occurred early Friday, as thousands of people walked through a narrow alley covered with metal flooring and may have gotten wet, causing some people to fall underfoot during the race. exit. Some apparently fell onto the catwalk and down a flight of stairs at its end, tumbling over those below and precipitating a fatal overwhelming domino effect.
Several Hebrew media reports said religious lawmakers exerted immense pressure ahead of the festivities to ensure there would be no limit to the number of participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 100,000 ultra-Orthodox pilgrims eventually attended the event; a framework developed by the health ministry, in consultation with other government officials, police and others, would have limited the event to 9,000 participants but has not been implemented.