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At least 44 dead and many more hurt in stampede at Israeli Lag B'Omer festival disaster: More than 100,000 Orthodox Jews pack first large religious gathering since Covid

At least 38 Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been killed and many more were critically hurt in a 'stampede triggered when stand holding hundreds of people collapsed' at the Lag B'Omer bonfire festival
  • At least 44 people died and 150 were injured, some of them critically, in stampede at Jewish religious festival
  • Up to 100,000 Orthodox Jews had gathered at Mount Meron for the festival of Lag B'Omer, celebrating the life of 2nd century mystic and sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who is buried at the site
  • Crush caused by 'human avalanche' that began when people fell in an overcrowded hallway, police have said 
  • Even before stampede, police warned of overcrowding with parts of the site only designed for 10,000 people

    At least 44 Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been killed and many more critically hurt in a stampede at a Lag B'Omer festival at Mount Meron in northern Israel. 

    Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said at least 150 people were hurt with six in critical, 18 are seriously hurt, eight in moderate condition, and 80 lightly injured - but numbers varied wildly as medics struggled to access a site packed with 100,000 people, despite parts of it being limited to 10,000.

    Preliminary police investigations said the crush was caused by a 'human avalanche' that began when people slipped and fell in an overcrowded stairwell and were unable to get up as the crowd pressed in behind them.

    Survivors described standing on top of people who they could feel were suffocating, but were unable to move because of the sheer weight of numbers. Children were also caught up in the carnage, though it is not clear if any were among the dead or wounded.

    The Lag B'Omer festival, which celebrates the life of 2nd century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who is buried at Mount Meron, is one of the largest annual gatherings in Israel but was highly restricted last year due to Covid.

    This year's event was the largest allowed to go ahead since Israel began lifting lockdowns due to its world-beating vaccine drive, though it appears many more people went to the site than authorities had prepared for.

    Even before the stampede, Israeli police were asking people not to attend due to overcrowding and the risk of Covid contagion, with some 148 people treated by medics at the site on Thursday - mostly due to exhaustion.

    Police warned it had become impossible to enforce social distancing restrictions due to the size of the crowd, particularly at an indoor grave site where crowd sizes were supposed to be limited to 10,000.

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews have previously been criticised for attending mass events in Israel despite Covid restrictions, including the funerals of two prominent rabbis who died of the virus back in January

    On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a 'heavy disaster' and added: 'We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties.' 

    At least 38 Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been killed and many more were critically hurt in a 'stampede triggered when stand holding hundreds of people collapsed' at the Lag B'Omer bonfire festival

    At least 38 Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been killed and many more were critically hurt in a 'stampede triggered when stand holding hundreds of people collapsed' at the Lag B'Omer bonfire festival

    Emergency services arriving at the scene. The Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service said 103 people had been injured, including dozens fatally, while Channel 12 TV put the number of dead at 38 in the early hours of this morning

    Emergency services arriving at the scene. The Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service said 103 people had been injured, including dozens fatally, while Channel 12 TV put the number of dead at 38 in the early hours of this morning

    Emergency services and ambulances 'are treating dozens of injured', Zaki Heller, spokesperson for Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency service, earlier said

    Emergency services and ambulances 'are treating dozens of injured', Zaki Heller, spokesperson for Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency service, earlier said

    People pictured tightly packed together in a crowd during the event. Officials later said it appeared that the casualties had been asphyxiated or trampled in a stampede

    People pictured tightly packed together in a crowd during the event. Officials later said it appeared that the casualties had been asphyxiated or trampled in a stampede

    Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron before the incident. Media reports initially said a section of stadium seating had collapsed at the festival

    Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron before the incident. Media reports initially said a section of stadium seating had collapsed at the festival

    Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said over 250 ambulances and helicopters had been called to the site to help rescue the wounded, including helicopters of the Israeli Air Force. 

    The chaos was further compounded when mobile phone services set up at the site crashed, leaving people unable to call for help and separating children from their parents.

    Police closed the main entrance to the site in order to control the crowd before evacuating tens of thousands from inside via car parks and other exits. Additional train services were put on to help ferry survivors away from the site.

    Witnesses said the stampede began around 1am local time when people crowded into an area that had been restricted by police barriers, meaning people were crushed against them.

    That led some to fall down, who were then trampled by the weight of people pressing up against them.

    "We were at the entrance, we decided we wanted to get out and then the police blocked the gate, so whoever wanted to get out could not get out,' one witness told Israeli newspaper Maariv.

    'In that hurry we fell on each other, I thought I was going to die. I saw people dead next to me.'

    The army said its medical teams and 'a number of Israeli Air Force helicopters with medical teams... are assisting in the mass casualty incident in Mount Meron.'

    'The forces are assisting in the evacuation of injured and killed civilians and providing medical treatment at the scene,' it added.

    'This is one of the worst tragedies that I have ever experienced,' said Lazar Hyman of the United Hatzalah volunteer rescue service, who was at the scene.

    'I have not seen anything like this since I entered into the field of emergency medicine,' he added.

    Yehuda Gottleib, one of the first responders from United Hatzalah, said he saw 'dozens of people fall on top of one another during the collapse', adding: 'A large number of them were crushed and lost consciousness.'

    The MDA posted a video on Twitter, captioning that 'dozens have been killed' and showing a worker saying: 'The Magen David Adom teams have finished providing medical response at the site.

    'They are currently evacuating in MDA ambulances and MDA helicopters to the hospitals. In addition they're currently providing secondary transports from the hospitals in the area to level one trauma centres.'  

    It added in a separate tweet: 'MDA is fighting for the lives of dozens wounded, and will not give up until the last victim is evacuated.  

    Israeli security officials and rescuers inspect the dead bodies of dozens of people who died during an event in Mount Meron, Israel, on April 29

    Israeli security officials and rescuers inspect the dead bodies of dozens of people who died during an event in Mount Meron, Israel, on April 29

    Emergency workers gather at the scene after dozens of people were killed and others injured in Meron, Israel, where tens of thousands of people were gathered to celebrate the festival of Lag B'Omer

    Emergency workers gather at the scene after dozens of people were killed and others injured in Meron, Israel, where tens of thousands of people were gathered to celebrate the festival of Lag B'Omer

    On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a 'heavy disaster' and added: 'We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties'

    On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a 'heavy disaster' and added: 'We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties'

    Israeli security officials and rescuers pictured at the scene. It was the first huge religious gathering of its kind to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic

    Israeli security officials and rescuers pictured at the scene. It was the first huge religious gathering of its kind to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic

    Medics and rescue workers pictured at the Lag B'Omer event, where fatalities were reported among the thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for annual commemorations at Mount Meron

    Medics and rescue workers pictured at the Lag B'Omer event, where fatalities were reported among the thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for annual commemorations at Mount Meron

    Dead bodies are inspected by Israeli security officials and rescuers. Around 5,000 police had been deployed to secure the event, with the police urging pilgrims to avoid incidents during the feast when bonfires are lit

    Dead bodies are inspected by Israeli security officials and rescuers. Around 5,000 police had been deployed to secure the event, with the police urging pilgrims to avoid incidents during the feast when bonfires are lit

    '38 are in critical condition and still in the field 6 in critical condition who were evacuated 18 injured severely 2 moderately 39 lightly.'

    Videos posted on social media showed chaotic scenes as Ultra-Orthodox men clambered through gaps in sheets of torn corrugated iron to escape the crush, as police and paramedics tried to reach the wounded. 

    Bodies lay on stretchers in a corridor, completely covered in foil blankets.

    Emergency services and ambulances 'are treating dozens of injured', Zaki Heller, spokesperson for MDA, the Israeli emergency service, earlier said in a statement.   

    Tens of thousands of people had gathered at the foot of Mount Meron to celebrate Lag B'Omer - a Jewish holiday honoring Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic who is buried there.  

    Emergency services pictured arriving at the scene. The MDA said teams are 'currently evacuating in MDA ambulances and MDA helicopters to the hospitals'

    Emergency services pictured arriving at the scene. The MDA said teams are 'currently evacuating in MDA ambulances and MDA helicopters to the hospitals'

    The dead bodies of dozens of people who died during the event are pictured at Mount Meron in northern Israel following the incident

    The dead bodies of dozens of people who died during the event are pictured at Mount Meron in northern Israel following the incident

    The scene pictured on April 29. Tens of thousands of Jews took part in the pilgrimage in northern Israel on Thursday, in the country's largest public gathering in the age of Covid-19

    The scene pictured on April 29. Tens of thousands of Jews took part in the pilgrimage in northern Israel on Thursday, in the country's largest public gathering in the age of Covid-19

    The MDA posted a video on Twitter, showing a worker saying: 'The Magen David Adom teams have finished providing medical response at the site'

    The MDA posted a video on Twitter, showing a worker saying: 'The Magen David Adom teams have finished providing medical response at the site'

    Authorities had authorised 10,000 people to gather at the site of the tomb but organisers said more than 650 busses had been chartered from across the country, bringing 30,000 pilgrims to Meron.

    Police said on Thursday that they had arrested two people for disrupting officers' efforts to keep order at the site 

    Around 5,000 police were deployed to secure the event, with the police urging pilgrims to avoid incidents during the feast when bonfires are lit.  

    It was the first huge religious gathering of its kind to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.  

    The country has seen cases plummet since launching one of the world's most successful vaccination campaigns late last year.  

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Comment by mr1stroke on May 5, 2021 at 2:51pm

caribmama well there you go again dropping jewels " he loves his money more he loves his God" so what happened to that fool and his money from the good book, why do you think those idiots always coming out retirement, i guess he forgot physical money is not insured under fdic unless it is in the institution's possession or unless someone dumb enough is willing to rip him off with insurance of those trucks for a few hours, since they can tell he is a smart fool? I just dont get it just about all those negros practice the same thinking, none of them is smart enough to tell each other that is not a smart move, and if you raise the awareness they want your head on a platter, so sad

Comment by caribmama on May 5, 2021 at 2:34pm

Mayweather is an embarrassment to black people. I can't stand him. I will laugh my ass off if that truck burns up with all that money. You love your money more than you love your God. He's going to have to work the rest of your damn life.

Comment by mr1stroke on May 5, 2021 at 2:15pm

caribmama you are dropping knowledge with those key points, for us to have our own media base yes, but how many of those who claim they have money and has been in the media for so long are investing in their own? They rather invest in white companies.

As for us get bought is because negros are more attractive to the paper in order to brag than assets so they white men know what they want he throws it at them and they get right back because negros love to spend.

Look at it, May whether is driving around with 2 armored trucks and briefcases full of cash to come to a tv interview and brag about it, now the little niggers with no future will be impress and give him the most respect, but cannot question how come the white men with slave money are not doing that, how come the white men with real money always filing for bankruptcy but never go broke? Its the language to protect their asset.

A football team will throw over $100 million at a black player but wont make him owner, why would they give him that much money? And why cant they pwn businesses in their own community, again do the study, in 2021 black people can do just like the jews, but they wont because its in their blood to be selfish, serve and impress white people

Comment by caribmama on May 5, 2021 at 1:50pm

It seems like every time we do create something for us, we get bought out by them. I know their use to be this one media company that was black owned I believe that was called I believe Media One or something with a one in it. I heard they got bought out by one of the white companies. 

Comment by caribmama on May 5, 2021 at 1:47pm

It's true Mr1stroke that we do have to expose them. But they still hold the power of the media and the purse strings to our lives. I would never want to do something that is going to block my brothers and sisters from getting their bread and butter. I would love to go all in.....but look at what it is doing to our brothers and sisters. They are stopping our businesses, shutting down our media accounts. The majority of the world is run by them. We have to start creating our own media so we don't have to rely on them and we can voice how we feel without retaliation. I'm full on.....believe me. But the last thing that I want is for me to be voiceless or my brothers and sisters to be voiceless. Everyone should have a right to say how they feel as long as they are not treating anyone. I feel for Palistine. But to say something like that, you are labeled as having sympathy for terrorists, but the bigger picture is that Israel took land that did not belong to them and have mercifully killed Palestinians who were just fighting back. I have no sympathy for Isreal. 

Comment by mr1stroke on May 2, 2021 at 12:58pm

caribmama these are the coming days, we have to stop worrying about what we will be labeled as if we have a stand, its time we stand on the right side of reality and hold pur ground, if we keep worrying about what others think we wont fix anything, we have to expose them

Comment by vaughn mitchell on May 2, 2021 at 12:53pm
Gods, payback is coming. White Israel, kicking out black jews, took over palestinian lands, build up walls, have nukes, and they want people to feel sorry for them when s*** happens to them.
Comment by caribmama on May 2, 2021 at 11:42am

Google the history of Palestine, it will open your eyes to a lot of what has been going on.

Comment by caribmama on May 2, 2021 at 11:40am

Jeffrey you could be right. But see thinking like that, we will be labeled supporting terrorist. But no one wants to see the bigger picture. Let's just put it like this...Palestinians are the black folks and Israelis are the racist cops that are killing us. 

Comment by Jeffrey L Donovan on May 1, 2021 at 5:28pm

Is this part of the karma for the treatment of Palestines?

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