The Festival: Around 100,000 ultra-orthodox jews were gathered at Mount Meron tomb to celebrate the annual Jewish holiday of ‘Lag B’Omer’. Tons of people were gathered late on Friday to witness the ceremonial bonfire lighting, when what officials describe as a ‘stampede’ occurred.
A witness present says that as soon as the bonfire had been lit, he could see waves of people being crushed by each other as intense screams and calls for help were heard. Another witness said that people being trampled went unheard until the system around sound went off asking people to disperse, causing even more confusion of a likely ‘bomb threat’.
Rescue and repercussions: Israel’s military was dispatched instantaneously to provide medical support and an elite rescue team to help those that were severely injured. Israel’s medical emergency service said it transported 103 people to hospitals with injuries, out of which 20+ were in critical conditions.
This was the largest public gathering in Israel or anywhere else in the region ever since the pandemic began, and it is very unfortunate that a time of rejoice has become a time of mourning.