Crowd limits, staggered visits recommended for celebrations in Meron

The State Commission of Inquiry into the Meron last Lag Ba’omer disaster has released interim recommendations for managing the site during the upcoming Lag Ba’omer celebrations to prevent a repeat of the deadly infatuation that took the lives of 45 men and boys in April.

The principle among those recommendations is that the number of pilgrims present at the Mount Meron site at any one time is limited and that the arrival of pilgrims be staggered overnight and the day after the celebration to ensure that the limit is not exceeded. crowd.

The three-member commission’s recommendations are intended for this upcoming Lag Ba’omer only, as the panel will not complete its investigation and will make recommendations for an ongoing review of the Meron site in time to ensure that upcoming Lag Ba ‘celebrations omer will be safe.

In April, 45 men and boys were crushed to death on a narrow walkway leading away from one of the main celebration areas on Mount Meron, where more than 200,000 pilgrims gather each year in Lag Ba’omer to celebrate the anniversary of the death. from the Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Commission President and former Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Rabbi Mordechai Karelitz and Major General. (Res.) Shlomo Yannai noted in his interim recommendations that although some work has been done at Meron to remove some safety hazards and improve the infrastructure there, this work has not been completed and the site is not yet safe.

MERON Commission President and former Supreme Court Chief Miriam Naor and her team are seen in August accepting testimony in Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH90)

The commission said that the area available for pilgrims on the mountain should be expanded and that pilgrims should be “channeled” to ensure that there was no congestion of crowds.

Crucially, the commission recommended setting a maximum number of people allowed on the site at any one time, which will be determined by the size of the available area and regulations regarding the amount of space required per person for the event to be safe.

The commission did not determine what the maximum number of visitors should be, as removal of unsafe structures and other work must be completed before the total available area can be known.

However, the commission members stated that, based on the information and testimonies gathered so far, the maximum number of people at any one time appeared to be around 20,000.

Given the massive demand, mainly among the ultra-Orthodox public, to visit Meron in Lag Ba’omer, the commission recommended staggering the arrival of shuttles and buses to the site overnight and the day after the holiday, and limiting the amount of time that a pilgrim can pass on the mountain.

This would be enabled by selling tickets in advance and coordinating the arrival of buses and other means of transportation to Meron.

The commission also recommended allowing only one massive bonfire lighting ceremony, as opposed to several such ceremonies that have taken place in recent decades by different Hasidic groups.

It was also recommended that a government minister be appointed to oversee the entire Lag Ba’omer celebration, who in turn should appoint an experienced official to carry out the minister’s instructions.

The commission said the minister should be appointed immediately, a budget allocated for the celebration as soon as possible and a plan published for the event within the next month.

“In light of the terrible disaster that occurred in 5781 [Lag Ba’omer 2021] and the urgent need for changes that reduce risks to the well-being of participants, we are now presenting basic recommendations for a safe preparation for Hillula. [anniversary] at 5782. We consider it important to publish the recommendations as soon as possible, so that the executing entities have enough time to prepare, ”the commission members wrote.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *