The State Commission of Israel has concluded an extensive three-year probe into the Mount Meron catastrophe, assigning direct accountability to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among other key figures for the tragic loss of 45 lives during the Lag Ba’Omer festivities.

The commission found that Netanyahu was ultimately responsible for the pilgrimage site’s security needs, suggesting it was reasonable to assume that the prime minister was aware of its dangers after multiple warnings from official bodies over the years.

“The prime minister bears the responsibility to proactively address, either personally or through mechanisms at his disposal, issues that require the attention of his office and, if necessary, his intervention, especially matters concerning human lives,” the report released on Wednesday states.

The commission also blamed then-Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, recommending he not hold ministerial positions in the future. However, the harshest criticism was directed at Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, suggesting his removal for his role in the incident.

“Commissioner Shabtai approved the operational plan formulated by the Northern District Police, despite knowing that the compound and the facilities used for bonfires could not safely accommodate the expected number of visitors during the event, while ignoring the associated risks,” the report read.

In light of Shabtai’s active role due to the Gaza war, the commission left the decision of his removal timing to the government.

In April 2021, a tragic stampede at the religious gathering on Mount Meron resulted in the deaths of forty-five individuals. The event, predominantly attended by around 100,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, marked Israel’s most severe civilian catastrophe in its history.

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