Author Topic: Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens  (Read 109 times)

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Offline DaveW

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Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens
« on: Fri Apr 30, 2021 - 10:52:42 »
https://news.yahoo.com/israeli-rescue-44-killed-stampede-042404702.html

JERUSALEM (AP) — A stampede at a religious festival attended by tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel killed at least 44 people and injured about 150 early Friday, medical officials said. It was one of the country's deadliest civilian disasters.

The stampede began when large numbers of people thronged a narrow tunnel-like passage during the event, according to witnesses and video footage. People began falling on top of each other near the end of the walkway, as they descended slippery metal stairs, witnesses said.

Avraham Leibe told Israeli public broadcaster Kan that a crush of people trying to descend the mountain caused a “general bedlam” on a slippery metal slope followed by stairs. “Nobody managed to halt,” he said from a hospital bed. “I saw one after the other fall.”

Video footage showed large numbers of people, most of them black-clad ultra-Orthodox men, squeezed in the tunnel. The Haaretz daily quoted witnesses as saying police barricades had prevented people from exiting quickly.

The stampede occurred during the celebrations of Lag BaOmer at Mount Meron, the first mass religious gathering to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has seen cases plummet since launching one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns late last year.

Lag BaOmer draws tens of thousands of people, most of them ultra-Orthodox Jews, each year to honor Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic who is buried there. Large crowds traditionally light bonfires, pray and dance as part of the celebrations.

This year, media estimated the crowd at about 100,000 people.

Offline DaveW

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Re: Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens
« Reply #1 on: Fri Apr 30, 2021 - 10:59:08 »
Lag B'omer is a strange observance.  Its not really a holiday, but it kinda seems like one. 

It comes in the middle of counting the Omer, from Day of First Fruits during Passover to the day of Shavuot/Pentecost.  Since Shavuot is considered the day God spoke the 10 commandments from atop Mt Sinai, it is a time of introspection and perhaps mourning.  Most joyful celebrations are forbidden (discouraged in more liberal sects of Judaism) EXCEPT for Bag L'omer.  [literally it means the 33rd day of the Omer]  So weddings and other joyous celebrations are done on that day. 

Offline DaveW

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Re: Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 44, hurts dozens
« Reply #2 on: Fri Apr 30, 2021 - 12:41:13 »
This came to my inbox today:

Editor's Note
By the Grace of G-d

At least 45 participants in an all-night Lag BaOmer celebration near the hallowed resting place of revered second-century Mishnaic sage Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai in Meron, Israel, died last night in tragic circumstances. Scores more are injured.

Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims, to all our brethren in the Holy Land and throughout the entire world. We likewise join together as one to express our heartfelt prayers to G-d for the full and speedy recovery of the injured.

This unfathomable and inexplicable tragedy begs for the sagacious insight and guidance from the Rebbe, of righteous memory. This is perhaps especially so given the joyous nature of the Lag BaOmer holiday which, following Jewish tradition, is still being celebrated now worldwide and often with redoubled vigor.

So, along with news stories, background information on the holy day of Lag BaOmer and its traditions, we bring you a couple of links to the Rebbe's insight, and encourage you to follow the links on those pages to yet much more... We hope and pray that this contributes to us all channeling our shock and disbelief into results that will benefit each of us individually, and the entirety of humankind.

Happy Lag BaOmer and Shabbat Shalom!

The Chabad.org Team



Scores Crushed to Death at Lag BaOmer Event in Meron, Israel
Celebration at millennia-old holy site takes tragic turn in Israel’s worst-ever civil disaster

Read: https://link.chabad.org/go.asp?li=430BEF64925B292F144797FE8B9B1BA5&ui=E026C604085DC56A816BAF7A58EB30D0

Authorities Begin Releasing Names of Victims of Meron Tragedy
Adults and children among the deceased

Read:  https://link.chabad.org/go.asp?li=5FA0E33215E78CFF5AD31E3BFD61E47B&ui=E026C604085DC56A816BAF7A58EB30D0