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May 2, 2021 11:49 am

Chief Rabbi Calls for State to Assume Responsibility for Mt. Meron Site in Wake of Disaster

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avatar by i24 News

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau. Photo: Gershon Elinson/Flash90.

i24 News – In the midst of preparing for a national day of mourning for the victims of the Mount Meron tragedy, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau told army radio that the management of the site must be determined.

“The site needs to be handled differently. What is happening at the moment does not respect the place or human life. The state is obligated to take responsibility for it,” Lau said.

Frustration over who takes responsibility was already expressed on Saturday as several hundred protesters gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence to demand an inquiry. Now Netanyahu is being criticized for seeking an extension of his mandate to form a government in the wake of the crisis.

Although reports in the Israeli media suggest that Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz has secretly discussed opening a private panel to review the incident, Northern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Shimon Levi took full responsibility Friday morning, saying he “bears overall responsibility, for better or for worse, and am ready for any investigation.”

Lau’s statement came just days after the disaster that took place on Mount Meron in the early hours of Friday that took the lives of 45 people, including children and teenagers. The fatal tragedy is considered the country’s deadliest civilian disaster.

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