Six people will stand trial over the death of an Israeli army officer two years after she was killed when a massive lighting rig collapsed during rehearsals for the Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl.
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it would indict the six suspects on charges of criminal negligence and criminally negligent homicide, pending a hearing.
Second Lieutenant Hila Betzaleli, a 20-year-old officer from Mevasseret Zion, was crushed to death on April 18, 2012, when the lighting rig crashed down on her and other soldiers as they rehearsed for the official state ceremony in the central parade ground. Seven other soldiers were injured in the incident.
The lighting rig was constructed from metal scaffolding. Four columns, each approximately 15 meters (50 feet) in height, held up the lighting rig with multiple stage lights secured to the scaffolding. Apparently one of the four columns collapsed due to strong winds on the day, causing the others to follow suit.
The six suspects include members of the Itzuv Bama lighting company which erected the rig, as well as the event’s safety adviser. A decision is still pending on whether to indict several other suspects in the case.
“I’ve waited for this day,” Betzaleli’s mother Sigalit told Channel 2 News. “It is inconceivable that two years after the incident no decision has been made about all the defendants.”
“I’m not glad about the indictments,” she added. “Whoever is guilty must pay the price, not out of vengefulness but only to warn and deter against such a thing happening again.”
Betzaleli’s 74-year-old grandfather committed suicide last year, jumping from the window of his four-story apartment in Ashkelon. According to his neighbors, he had been fighting depression in the year since his granddaughter’s death.