Former police chiefs urge state commission of inquiry into Meron disaster

A forum of former police chiefs is urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a state commission of inquiry into Thursday night’s deadly crush at Mount Meron that left 45 dead and injured 150.

In a letter to the prime minister, the chiefs write that in light of their own experiences in overseeing the annual Lag B’Omer events at Mount Meron, a thorough investigation is necessary in order to provide input for future years.

The letter was also sent to Justice Minister Benny Gantz, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, and current Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai.

People walk next to an Israeli flag lowered to half-staff in honor of the Mt. Meron disaster victims, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 2 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

It comes as the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department begins its own probe of the force’s role in the planning and management of the festival attended by some 100,000 people.

During the morning, investigators from the PIID arrived at the scene of the disaster to begin probing its causes, including gathering various documents relating to the preparations and authorizations for the events at the site, the Ynet website reports.

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