Dozens of people were killed during the Maroon Mountain religious festival, the state founder said.
Israel’s state intelligence agency has said it will launch an investigation Deadly stench Forty-five people died at a religious festival over the weekend.
At least one child and adolescent were among those killed early Friday morning, a tragedy described as Israel’s most peaceful disaster.
Coinciding with the holiday of Leg Baum, thousands of thousands of northeastern Israel’s famous rabbi Shimon Bar-Zochai made a place in the Meron Mountains in northern Israel for the annual pilgrimage to the tomb.
“The accident could have been prevented, and we need to determine it now,” state regulator Mataniahu Engleman told reporters at a news conference in Jerusalem on Monday, announcing a “special audit” of the crash.
Engelman said his report would focus on the actions of decision-makers, police and rescuers on the ground. It was not immediately clear whether his announcement called for an independent investigation.
Engelman is seen as close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who relied on the political support of ultra-orthodox parties whose government was on fire to allow public gatherings. Engleman said he had no recent contact with Netanyahu.
The state agency’s office, under one of Engelman’s predecessors, warned of the dangers of pilgrimage to Maron Mount in 2008 and 2011.
The 2006 report states, “Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s mausoleum is decades old and hundreds of thousands of people who came for the media are not properly prepared to take it.
Subsequent documents state that maintenance on the site was limited and that numerous, illegally constructed additions “could endanger people inside.”
The casualties in the male section of the sex-splitting site began when people were thought to have suffocated to death while crossing a narrow road.
Some blamed police for blocking access to the ramp, which could have allowed pilgrims to flee.
Officials allowed 10,000 pilgrims to take part this year, but several Israeli media outlets reported that 100,000 people attended Mount Maron.
The dead were men and boys from the country’s largest ultra-Orthodox community. At least 120 people were injured, according to the Megan David Adam rescue agency.
The tragedy has brought new attention to Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, where many have imposed coronavirus restrictions over the past year and some leaders have refused to acknowledge state authority.
According to Israeli reports, ultra-orthodox leaders pressured the government to allow last week’s celebrations without hindrance.
Netanyahu promised a full investigation, but several, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, have demanded a state commission of inquiry into Israel’s highest-level investigation.
Northern Israel’s police chief, Shimon Lavi, said he was ready to accept “responsibility”, but Netanyahu’s close ally, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, said he was willing to face an investigation.
“I’m responsible, but responsibility doesn’t mean guilt,” Ohana said.
One of the dead on Monday, a 21-year-old Talmudic school student from Argentina, was laid to rest in a Jerusalem cemetery in the face of hundreds of mourners, Israeli media reported.
Funerals and identification of the dead began hours after the tragedy on Friday, but resumed on Saturday after the end of the Jewish Sabbath and stopped on the Sabbath.