Moshe David HaCohen
Moshe David HaCohen
Co-Director of Amanah in Malmö, Sweden

Meron Tragedy – a time of pain, reflection and unity

The Walls of the Old City in Jerusalem are lit up tonight with memory candles and the message: “Jerusalem shares the pain of the families of those who lost their beloved”
I am heartbroken as I look at the beautiful faces of those who died in the Meron tragedy. Reading through the names in disbelief. The Englerd brothers 14 and 9 years old. The Elchadad brothers 12 and 18 years old, their father looked for them all night long. Moshe Levi, 14 years old. More then 10 children and teens dead, young fathers who left orphaned children and babies, a young father who held his first daughter in his hands one week ago. A young man engaged two weeks ago.
45 dead, 150 wounded.
A mournful kaddish led by the Police forces on site.
Entire families whose lives have been shattered.
What brought their loved ones together in this tragedy was their simple wish to rejoice, to celebrate, to pray and dance with joy. This is what they did in their last moments before they died.
The Jewish people throughout the world have come together in prayer, in silence, in brokenness. The pain has cracked open our hearts and united us beyond differences, This is the nation of Israel, who unite in joy and in pain. These moments remind us that we are one family. This is not the time for blame, to search for those responsible, this is a time to share the pain.
A National Day of mourning has been set for tomorrow by the Government of Israel. The flags will be lowered, all cultural events cancelled. Recognizing that this tragedy goes beyond all differences of opinion, it touches us at the core of the nation that we are.
As the emergency services called for blood donations, thousands answered the calls. Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, the secular icon of the country was flooded with hundreds of donors lined up, giving their blood for their ultra religious brothers who had been wounded.
The local nearby Arab villages of Tamra, Jish, Yarka and others rushed in to help clear the wounded and spontaneously set up food stations to provide for the thousands fleeing from the scene of the tragedy.
As families arrange the funerals of their beloved, lost to them for no reason at all, we can only offer our loving hands and broken hearts.
About the Author
Moshe David HaCohen is co-director of Amanah: The Muslim-Jewish Trust Partnership in Malmö, Sweden together with Imam Salahuddin Barakat, which builds trust between the communities as well as society - in order to jointly counter discrimination, antisemitism and islamophobia. HaCohen is also director of the Nordic Beit Midrash and network of orthodox rabbis in the Scandinavian counties, as well as manager of the Scandinavian Beit Din, under its Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Michael Melchior.
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