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Netanyahu adviser asks Meron victim’s family for video supporting PM — report

Bereaved family member tells Channel 12 Rivka Paluch requested short clip in which they would ‘say something to the PM’ and his wife

Rivka Paluch, left, walks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on March 3, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Rivka Paluch, left, walks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on March 3, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly met with the relatives of a Meron disaster victim and reportedly asked of them to film a video affirming their support for the PM and his wife, Sara.

Rivka Paluch, Netanyahu’s adviser on ultra-Orthodox affairs, delivered a letter from the premier to one of the mourning families following the deadly crush, and then verbally asked one of the relatives for a video “to say something to the prime minister,” Channel 12 news reported Thursday.

“Maybe also say a few things for Sara Netanyahu, for everything that they are doing to her, strengthen her hand,” Paluch reportedly said to one of the bereaving family members, the report said. It was unclear what Paluch was referring to regarding Sara Netanyahu, though the prime minister’s family has long alleged cruel treatment by the media.

The family member told Channel 12 that they asked Paluch why Netanyahu didn’t call to offer his condolences, to which she said that “if he would call you, he would have to call everyone,” the report said.

Security officials and rescuers at the scene of a fatal crush during Lag B’Omer celebrations at Mount Meron in northern Israel, April 30, 2021. (AP Photo)

Forty-five people died and more than 150 were hurt in the disaster near the gravesite of the second-century sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron last Friday.

Huge crowds of ultra-Orthodox pilgrims were making their way along a narrow walkway with a slippery metal flooring that ended in flights of stairs. People began to slip and fall, others fell upon them, and a calamitous crush ensued.

Paluch denied the allegations to the network, saying that she did not ask the families for videos, nor was she instructed by the prime minister to do so.

The Prime Minister’s Office gave a similar response, adding that it would look into the report.

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