- A state commission has warned former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a senior police officer.
- He is being held responsible for an accident that killed 45 people last year.
- The warning comes just two months before the November election.
A state commission of inquiry into one of Israel’s worst civil disasters warned former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a senior police officer that they could be held responsible for a crash that killed 45 people.
The committee looked at the circumstances surrounding last year’s disaster, which caused a deadly stampede and crushing of thousands of pilgrims in a narrow passageway at a religious festival in northern Israel.
In addition to the 45 killed, at least 100 people were injured in the celebration, which was attended by an estimated 100,000 worshipers on the slopes of Mount Meron.
The letter to Netanyahu, the leader of Israel’s right-wing opposition Likud party, said he “did not act as expected of the prime minister” in addressing long-standing security concerns at the site, despite the fact that ” He knew or should “know” about them.
Those nominated by the commission are given an opportunity to respond, and a warning letter does not always mean that action will be taken against them.
The warning came just two months before the November election, in which Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, could run for a sixth term.
Netanyahu’s Likud party expressed sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones in the disaster, but accused Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s government of “political timing” in issuing the letter during the election campaign.
Before last year’s disaster, there had been concern for years about the annual event, which was held at the tomb of a second-century Jewish saint in Galilee.
According to the letter, the poor condition of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s mausoleum was criticized by the State Comptroller’s Office and brought before the cabinet on several occasions, but no action was taken.
In addition to Netanyahu and several former ministers and officials, the commission elected Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai to allow the festival despite being aware of the dangers at the site.
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