What were the various government organisations and institutions saying and doing, in the lead up to Meron 5781?
That’s what we’re going to take a look at in this post, as part of our effort to establish the wider context of the atrocity that occurred on L’ag B’omer, when 45 were crushed to death, thanks to the police.
Before we get into all that paperwork side of things, I want to bring a couple of videos to your attention.
WARNING: These are hard to watch.
They show groups of feral policemen mamash violently kicking and beating chareidim – for no obvious reason – all over the RASHBI complex, in the hours leading up to the tragedy.
SCREENSHOT FROM THE ABOVE CLIP:
This next one comes from Chananya Weissman’s Rumble channel, HERE:
SCREENSHOT FROM THE ABOVE CLIP:
And this one I posted up here already, from the Tomer Devorah blog HERE:
Again, it shows a group of police brutally ejecting peaceful chareidim from Kever of the RASHBI, in the hours leading up to the atrocity:
SCREENSHOT FROM THE ABOVE CLIP:
For every one of these clips, there are literally 100s of accounts of police brutality against chareidim in Meron, before the tragedy happened later that night.
One of Rav Berland’s close students, Rav Nachman Horowitz, left a message on the Breslov Line around 6pm the evening of L’ag B’omer, warning about the police brutality that was going on.
Here’s a little of what he said:
“Rabotai, [this is] literally a war. They [the police] removed all the women, now they are by the men. Wars! They are not allowing entry, people are sacrificing their lives, we need to pray….”
Two minutes later, he collapsed and had a massive heart-attack in the Kever.
There are unconfirmed reports that this occurred just after he got ‘pepper-sprayed’ by the police.
It’s hard to watch these clips, and to not have the uncomfortable idea that the police in Meron were relating to the chareidim there as somewhat ‘subhuman’.
You know, just one level up from gorillas, or dogs, that you can kick around, beat up, drag around the floor violently – basically, treat like human garbage – and apparently without being at all worried about the consequences of being caught on camera violently abusing hundreds of people.
Except of course, I’m sure these police would actually be very nice to dogs and gorillas.
So, the first piece of evidence we have about the ‘official position’ towards the visitors to Meron this year is:
- Rampant, extreme and unjustified police brutality against religious Jews, all over the RASHBI complex in the hours leading up to the disaster at the stairs.
Next, we have the strange matter of the ‘disappearing cameras’.
The day before L’ag B’omer, Wednesday April 28, 2021, many people reported that the police went through the Rashbi compound removing all the cameras – including from private institutions including those belonging to Rabbi Shraga Schnitzer and ‘Hilula DeRashbi’, and those belonging to Rabbi Kuperstock, and others.
In this video, you can see the ‘official cameras’ in the women’s section of the RASHBI kever being dismantled on that Wednesday:
Here’s a screenshot:
If we had some footage from that cross-section at the bottom of the stairs, that would clearly show what barriers were emplaced where, and by whom, and with what result….
That would clear up so much of this confusion about really happened to kill 45 people and injure 150 more, wouldn’t it?
If you’re still going with the ‘this was all a tragic accident’ idea – and you’re entitled to do that – please explain to me why the police dismantled every single camera in the complex the day before L’ag B’omer, that they didn’t have full control over?
There’s an account that I haven’t been able to yet confirm that Eli Freund, the Meron Site administrator wrote a letter to the Police Commander, Shimon Lavi, the day after the disaster, asking him why the police had removed the cameras, and what were they trying to hide.
I think we’re starting to ‘surface’ at least a little of what the police may have been trying to hide, the last few days.
So, the second piece of evidence about the ‘official position’ in Meron is this:
2. All cameras that were not police cameras were cut off in the RASHBI compound the day before L’ag B’omer, by the police.
Let’s continue, because there is still so much more ground to cover.
The next thing I want to take a look at is the exits in and out of the Toldos Aharon complex.
If you go HERE, you’ll find a very detailed investigation in Hebrew, examining what was going on with the exits in and around the Toldos Aharon complex, and the RASHBI compound, generally.
The author says he interviewed hundreds of witnesses before coming to his conclusion that it was all the gates, fences and checkpoints that the Ministry of Health insisted should be put up INSIDE the RASHBI compound itself, that actually caused the massive crush on the ramp that was the SINGLE EXIT LEFT OPEN from the Toldos Aharon compound.
Here’s a google translated snippet of the original Hebrew (emphasis mine):
It turns out that what caused the seemingly terrible disaster, is the placement of many barriers between all the lighting complexes and the Zion complex.
Barriers had been set up in general, to delimit the areas, thus limiting the number of participants in one place in real time, in order to prevent infection of the corona virus, with no connection to public safety in the context of overcrowding or congestion, but purely corona restrictions.
In all the years that have passed, before the Corona era, except for the main entrances and exits, no checkpoints have been set up inside the compound, and the events passed safely, although apparently even then the safety situation in terms of congestion was very bad.
As stated this year, due to the requirement of the Ministry of Health, a number of checkpoints were set up, which caused a huge load in the stairwell where the disaster occurred.
If you go HERE, you’ll find a video walking around the RASHBI compound the day before L’ag B’omer, 5781.
The following screenshots come from that video – and they give a sense of just how ‘penned in’ and blocked the whole compound was, by ‘Ministry of Health’-required gates and fences.
Even at this stage, you can see how the person who is shooting this video is finding it really hard to easily move around the RASHBI complex, and to navigate all these fences.
Now, times that by 20,000 people and start to understand that whoever planned the layout of these fences, promoting the health and safety of the crowd was NOT the main consideration in their minds.
According to that report, above, the following three additional exits into and out of the Toldos Aharon complex were blocked on this L’ag B’omer:
Via the back of the Tzion, down the stairs.
(We saw this exit already blocked with two sets of Ministry of Health fences on April 28, 2021, in the pictures above.)
From the top floor of the Tzion, via a ‘balcony passage’ that normally leads to a large central exit that opens out towards the Boyaner complex in Meron, and from there down some stairs to the Toldos Aharon complex.
This was blocked by Ministry of Health fences, the night of L’ag B’omer.
From the Boyaner Complex itself, another wide staircase located in the women’s section (but also used by men), which leads down to the Toldos Aharon complex.
This exit was also blocked by Ministry of Health fences, the night of L’ag B’omer.
That left just one exit open, the night of L’ag B’omer – the infamous ‘Reb Dov Shvil’ stairs.
This exit was already known to create a dangerous, potentially fatal bottle neck, even on regular years where there were no additional fences, checkpoints, or overcrowding because of Shabbat.
So, here’s our third piece of evidence about the ‘official position’ in Meron:
3. Three out of the four usual exits in and out of the Toldos Aharon Complex were deliberately blocked by the police / Ministry of Health / government ahead of this year’s L’ag B’omer celebration.
Now, let’s go back to the Fire and Rescue Services Report into what needed to happen for L’ag B’omer 5781 to pass safely.
(You can see the PDF of that report, in Hebrew, HERE.)
It’s addressed to one ‘Tzvi Hiller’, who is apparently associated with Toldos Aharon in some capacity.
(I’m using all these qualifying statements, because until I check all these details out, I don’t know if they are actually true, and I can’t find an iota of information about this ‘Tzvi Hiller’ outside of this report, which is exclusively found on Ynet.)
It’s dated April 19, 2021, and amongst other things, it says the following, at #7 in the section on ‘SUGGESTIONS’ (highlighted in the screenshot below):
TRANSLATION of #7:
The enclosed area outside the building [i.e. RASHBI’s Tomb]:
In the enclosed area outside the building, which is not covered, there should be at least two totally separate ways out…If the gathering exceeds 6,000 people, there should be at least three exits. If the gathering exceeds 9,000 people, there should be at least four exits.
What we learn from this is the following:
> Crowds of above 9,000 people in the Toldos Aharon complex require at least 4 exits, to prevent dangerous overcrowding.
> Every year in L’ag B’omer, there are usually at least four exits out of the Toldos Aharon compound, as detailed above.
? This year, the government /Ministry of Health / police blocked three of those exits out of the Toldos Aharon complex, leaving just one: the ‘Reb Dov Shvil’, open.
Whoever signed off on these additional three exits being blocked with ‘Ministry of Health’ fences – in stark contravention of the Fire and Rescue services report from April 19th – is responsible for the dangerous overcrowding, that at least contributed to 45 people dying, and 150 people being injured in Meron.
Let’s just add in to more things, and then we’re done for this post.
I want to turn your attention back to the two ‘safety engineers’ who were recently questioned by Lahav 443.
Here’s the relevant snippet, for this post:
[Lawyers for the engineers said:]
“The disaster happened only because the police chose to ignore the professionals despite the fact that the police themselves required the organizers to hire safety professionals.”
The engineers said that they transferred a report of the safety pitfalls at the site to the police as early as April 25… [and t]he safety engineers demanded as early as January that all the hadlakos at Meron be carried out at the same time in order to prevent large amounts of people from moving from place to place.
“We warned about crowding not because of COVID but because of Shabbat,” the engineers said. “We estimated that masses of people would arrive all at once and that’s what happened.”
Furthermore, following a safety assessment of Meron last month, the safety engineer sent a letter on April 26 to the police officer at the Northern Police District responsible for licensing and security, stating that a balcony erected on the site “narrowed the entrance of the emergency exit leading to the Toldos Aharon [stairs]. In an emergency, this obstacle poses a danger and can lead to a bottleneck.”
Here we have the two safety engineers for Meron stating that they sent the Police reports about potential overcrowding at Meron as early as January 2021, because of the Shabbat pressure on L’ag B’omer this year.
And what did the police do with all those recommendations the safety engineers made?
They totally ignored them.
And not only that, the police / Ministry of Health / government put fences and checkpoints and gates in place to make a number of additional, potentially dangerous ‘bottlenecks’ all over the RASHBI complex this year.
Are we starting to see who was clearly responsible for the atrocity in Meron this year?
And it’s getting harder and harder to keep claiming all this happened ‘accidentally’.
Here’s the last bit of information on the ‘official position’ for this post:
There were many eyewitnesses who stated that when they were trying to leave the dangerously overcrowded Toldos Aharon complex BEFORE the fatal crush happened, the police blocked them, and forced them back into the crowd.
Here’s some more video, from Chananya Weissman’s Rumble channel, showing what some of these ‘impromptu’ police ‘roadblocks’ looked like.
And they were happening all over the RASHBI complex all evening, and particularly before that fatal ‘crush’ occurred just after Toldos Aharon lit their bonfire, at approximately 12:30am.
If all this ‘blocking’ was being done in the name of ‘COVID 19’ regulations, how can we explain that the Ministry of Health believed that penning large crowds of people behind fences and gates for long stretches of time was meant to help ‘prevent the spread of COVID’?
So, if all this deliberate overcrowding wasn’t being done to ‘prevent the spread of COVID 19’, and wasn’t being done to ‘crowd control’ and help people move around safely – then why was it being done?
THAT is the question.
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