Uri Hirsch
Uri Hirsch

Who is to blame?

There will be many investigations into the tragedy at Mt. Meron on Lag Baomer, no doubt. They will take a long time to come to any conclusion. They will undoubtedly blame many people, government agencies, local councils, police, fire departments, politicians, warnings that were not heeded and more.

Whatever the outcome I am convinced that, despite all of the above that should have to share in the blame, the one group that is most to blame is, unfortunately, the victims themselves.

Any glance at the video clips of the masses walking through narrow passageways will clearly illustrate how they demonstrated complete lack of decency and caring. They were pushing and shoving in complete disregard of who was next to them or in front of or in back of them. Their motive was “Me” and “I”. I need to get to my destination no matter the obstacles. They showed no semblance of civility or courteousness. This is, unfortunately, how most of them act all the time. They act for themselves but not their fellow man.

I remember many years ago on a flight between Israel and the U.S. when there was a stopover in Italy and it was time to pray the Mincha (afternoon) service. I went over to a group of “charedi-clad” passengers who were also waiting to continue the flight and suggested we pray. One of them looked me over from top to bottom and noticed that I was not wearing their type of “uniform” and abruptly told me that they had their own minyan (quorum).

Ironically, Lag Baomer celebrates, according to tradition, the end of a plague that killed 24,000 students of the famed Rabbi Akiva. The reason given for their deaths is that they had “sin’at chinom” (baseless hatred) of their own people. This was the day that they showed the same traits at Har Meron that caused another tragedy.

Will they ever learn?

About the Author
M.Ed from a leading U.S. university. English instructor. Former Gabai in U.S. and Israeli synagogues. Lover of Israel. Member of the politically right in Israel.
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