Interior Minister Aryeh Deri urges the government to assert full control over Mount Meron, following last week’s devastating crush at the haphazardly run holy site.
Speaking at a Knesset memorial for the 45 victims, Deri says: “I was silent for several days until the funerals ended. This terrible tragedy is a decree from heaven, but this does not absolve us from a thorough examination and investigation to ensure that no additional tragedies like this occur.”
“It’s time to deal with the root [of the problem], to take responsibility, to offer sizable funding and build infrastructure at the site, as is fitting for a holy site,” says Deri.
Deri, who is the head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, also rebuffs criticism after it emerged that he pushed for the Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to go ahead without COVID-19 restrictions. He says the discussions preceding the event were about the health risks of the gathering, which he dismissed, rather than general overcrowding.