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July 20, 2022 10:10 am

Inquiry Committee to Send Warning Letter to Police Chief After Meron Disaster

avatar by i24 News

Ultra Orthodox Jews look at stairs with waste on it in Mount Meron, northern Israel, where fatalities were reported among the thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for annual commemorations that include all-night prayer and dance, April 30, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun

i24 News – Israel’s Police Chief Yaakov Shabtai and several other officers are expected within weeks to receive warning letters from the state commission of inquiry, investigating the circumstances of last year’s Mount Meron disaster, Ynet reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

These missives will indicate to their recipients that they could be held responsible for the incident that led to the death of 45 people as more than 100,000 worshipers were gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer.

According to the news site, the Northern District Police Chief Shimon Lavi, who announced his resignation to everyone’s surprise on Monday, should also be concerned.

Despite his resignation, Lavi should allegedly also receive a letter from the committee.

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The committee is currently examining the role of other police officers, including Lieutenant General Maurice Chen, who was then head of the operations and police division.

The police did not respond to a request for comment.

“If the chief (of the police) resigns only after having received the letter of the committee, it means that he does not assume his responsibilities,” a spokesperson for the forum of bereaved families told Ynet.

“If he does not resign even after this letter, it is because he does not recognize the judicial system,” the spokesperson added.

“Now is the last moment to do the minimum required — take responsibility.”

The committee’s recommendations cannot compel the government to adopt them, but until now no Israeli government has completely ignored the recommendations of a state commission of inquiry.

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