The Jerusalem Post

Meron structures removed, concerning victims’ families


Demolition orders have been issued against several structures at the Meron holy site in the wake of the Meron disaster in April, and footage has emerged of work to execute those orders.

These developmen­ts have given rise to concerns, among families of those who perished in the disaster, that the investigat­ion to be carried out by a state commission of inquiry will be compromise­d by changing facts on the ground at the site.

On April 30, 45 men and boys, mostly ultra-Orthodox died in a mass crush on Mount Meron, the traditiona­l site of the tomb of Talmudic sage Shimon Bar Yochai, where tens of thousands of pilgrims had gathered for the annual Lag Ba’omer celebratio­ns.

Last month, the new government voted to establish a state commission of inquiry into the disaster, and the committee is now being establishe­d.

On Wednesday, however, images emerged of demolition notices posted at several structures at the Meron site issued by the Northern District branch of the Authority for Land Enforcemen­t.

The orders were signed by the director of the Northern District David Ohayon, dated June 17,

and posted at the site on June 20, the day the committee of inquiry was approved by the government. One of the demolition orders is against a 350 square meter raised balcony, and another against a pathway at the site.

Further images emerged on Wednesday in which large trucks and cranes can be seen at Meron, with workmen dismantlin­g some structures, including bleachers in the so-called Boyan section of the site.

According to the Finance Ministry, under whose auspices the Authority for Land Enforcemen­t operates, four demolition orders were ordered by Ohayon against structures erected “in recent months.”

Asked about the images of some structures being dismantled, a ministry spokespers­on said the ministry did not know what was

being taken down in the picture, but repeated that none of the four demolition orders had yet been executed and needed the approval of the police.

It did not respond to a request for informatio­n as to which exact structures were under the demolition order.

A spokesman for the Forum of Families of Meron Victims said that the families were very concerned that the demolition orders were being carried out before the state committee of inquiry had a chance to visit and examine the site.

The spokesman said the families were concerned that the demolition orders were designed to cover up evidence regarding the causes behind the disaster and said the forum might appeal to the High Court of Justice to stop the demolition­s.

 ?? (David Cohen/Flash90) ?? WORKERS DISMANTLE a temporary structure at Mount Meron earlier this week.
(David Cohen/Flash90) WORKERS DISMANTLE a temporary structure at Mount Meron earlier this week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel