As the hours pass from the tragedy, more and more information is coming to light about the many warnings issued by various authorities over the years, from senior traffic cops to the state comptroller, about the potential for chaos and disaster at the Meron site.
The various reports reveal that by standard police safety regulations for public gatherings, the site should not have been permitted to hold more than about 15,000 people. Officials have estimated the crowds at the site last night at over 100,000.
Commander Ilan Mor, head of the operational branch of the national traffic police, produced a document in 2016 titled, “Meron celebrations: Erasing the writing on the wall.”
The internal police document analyzes past tragedies caused by overcrowding at public events, including disasters and near-disasters at Meron itself, and concludes that the infrastructure at the Meron holy site could not safely accommodate the numbers of worshipers that attend each year at Lag B’Omer.
In the report, Mor calls to limit the number of people attending and to appoint a single organizer to manage the site, instead of allowing each Hasidic sect to run its own area.
Similarly, a 2008 state comptroller report warned of a “systemic failure at the Rashbi compound [at Meron]” due to “many different authorities all involved in its management,” a chaotic situation that would lead to harm to the holy site and endangered the worshipers.