Monday, May 31, 2021

Families that Lost Loved Ones at Meron Very Angry At Chareidie Leadership And Insist On a Government Investigation


The families finally speak out!

The sense that the Haredi political elite has spent the 30 days since the catastrophe desperately fending off any inquiry that might see it blamed for the tragedy is driving a new outpouring of rage at the Haredi leadership from within its own community.

When a Shavuot celebration on May 16 held by the Karlin-Stolin Hasidic sect ended in yet another tragedy as a grandstand collapsed under the weight of dancing worshipers — killing two, including 13-year-old Meir Gloiberman, and wounding over 200 — that anger could no longer be ignored.

And when news broke that some of the families of the Meron dead had been contacted by people claiming to be from United Torah Judaism asking if they would agree to sign a letter opposing a formal state commission, it boiled over.

On May 23, the families found their voice.

They formed an organization called “The Forum of the Bereaved Families of the Meron Martyrs” that sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with copies to Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, as well as UTJ’s Gafni and Shas’s Deri. Their message was crystal clear.

“To our great anguish, there are those in recent days who have called for an investigation that isn’t an independent state investigation commission,” the letter begins.

“We want to say in a loud, clear, unequivocal voice, without ambiguity, all the families speaking as one, that we demand only an independent state investigation commission. We are convinced that only a state investigation commission will conduct a comprehensive investigation.”

Some families weren’t satisfied with the letter. Haredi radio station Kol Barama reported on Thursday that the family of Shraga Gestetner, an American who died at Meron, has threatened to involve the American government “if a state investigation into the disaster isn’t established in the coming days.”

When everything is at stake

No similar disaster in Israel’s history, nor even one with a quarter of Meron’s death toll, has failed to result in an investigation commission. Why do the Haredi parties believe they can hold the line? Why would they be willing to face the inevitable public condemnation?

So much of what went wrong at Meron — the bickering sects, the refusal to accept police safety regulations or government oversight, the mobilizing of Haredi political leadership to guarantee the event’s independence from state oversight — cuts to the heart of Haredi culture, to its sense that it has achieved a kind of purity and superiority over the surrounding society through its separatism and isolationism.

On May 17, a day after the Karlin disaster, the Haredi journalist Moshe Glassner of Kol Barama put the point bluntly:

 Haredi separatism is leading the community from one deadly failure to another.

“After yet another disaster in the Haredi community,” Glassner wrote, “it’s about time for all the various [Haredi] communities to grasp the message: Safety regulations, like health regulations, aren’t a ‘Zionist plot against religion.’ That anachronistic way of thinking cost us lives in the pandemic, at Meron, and again on Shavuot.”

The religious commandment to “guard your lives,” he added, “isn’t a mitzvah [just] for troubled youth, but an obligation from the Torah” that supersedes nearly all others.

In Haredi society’s terms, the politicians are protecting not just themselves or their religious sects. They are safeguarding the psychic walls that Haredi society has constructed around itself, the deep-seated ethos of resistance to state interference in their lives and communities.

For a growing chorus of critics in the community, however, the 45 dead at Meron are too high a price to lay at the altar of isolationism and self-regard.

As the May 24 walkout in the Knesset showed, secular Israel is no longer the primary threat to that isolationism. Likud and other factions proved willing to play along with the Haredi leadership’s efforts to stymie an independent investigation.

After a year of the pandemic’s devastation, followed in quick succession by the dual shocks of the Meron and Karlin disasters, it is now the families of the dead and the increasingly independent-minded media outlets of the Haredi world that are not.




Pinny said...

The answer is so simple. This is about one thing. Cash money.

Meron has many charities set up internationally. The MK’s kasher their money through these charities.

This is an international money laundering ring amongst the charity’s and mk’s. Some fake American askanim are also involved.

They are very nervous this will get exposed

chaim said...

Ban ALL bleachers and dangerous groups .We NEVER learn from our past.