State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman announced Monday that he will launch a special review of the events leading to the April 30 disaster at Mount Meron. The tragedy saw 45 people killed and 150 wounded in a stampede that took place in a narrow passageway at the prayer compound, where over 100,000 had gathered to celebrate the holiday of Lag B’omer. Englman’s announcement came amid growing criticism of what is perceived as officials shrugging off responsibility for the disaster.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to decide whether name a state commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the event, while Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has declared he “has no intention of resigning” over the tragedy. “This disaster could have been prevented,” the comptroller said, adding that, unlike other audits, this review will name names and include individual reviews.
“It is our duty to examine this event and what preceded it. Any aspects of personal responsibility will be unequivocally reflected in the report, with individual reference to those concerned.”
Englman, who called a special press conference on Monday to announce the audit, said the review will include the circumstances that led to the Mount Meron disaster, the preparation of the various bodies involved ahead of time, and the actions taken by them since his office’s last review of Lag B’Omer festival policies, in 2011.
The audit will review the work of all decision-making bodies, from the government down to the police forces and emergency services on the ground.
It would also seek to recommend policy ahead of other mass events nationwide, he said.