Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing, your 15-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world, from Sunday through Thursday.
Today’s panel comprises editor David Horovitz and senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur, along with host Amanda Borschel-Dan.
On today’s show, we focus solely on the disaster that took place on Mount Meron in the early hours of Friday morning, in which 45 people were crushed to death, including over a dozen children and teenagers.
What is the significance of the site, Israel’s second-most popular pilgrimage destination, and the Lag B’Omer festival during which the disaster took place? And how have police allowed the annual celebration, Israel’s largest, to take place without adequate oversight?
The fatal tragedy — the country’s deadliest civilian disaster — appears to be forcing a reckoning within ultra-Orthodox communities over the benefits of their relative autonomy in various matters. Could the disaster represent a turning point?
And what of the state authorities, beyond the police, who were meant to be in charge of the event but appeared to have passed responsibility for it back and forth? Where does the buck stop?