One of the questions surrounding Lag B’Omer in Meron at Kever Rashbi is who is ultimately in charge. The Ministry of Tourism and other government agencies are involved, along with many EMS and emergency responder organizations. There are the religious agencies including the government’s Office of Holy Sites, Ministry of Religious Services and more. Some feel Israel Police is the ultimate authority, but others disagree.
It appears the recent collapse of scaffolding at Mount Herzl, which involved a fatality R”L, has a number of agencies worried, and someone has to take charge, to accept the burden of responsibility for the event which attracts well over 150,000 people. Some of the organizers are asking who will ensure that the tragedy that occurred at Mt. Herzl will not occur in Meron, and if chas v’sholom it does, who will assume responsibly.
Minister of Tourism officials report they have invested 1.8 million NIS to make sure the event is secure and safe. Amos Shimoni, who heads Israel Police’s northern command operations unit announces “police are not responsible”, seeking to distance himself from overall authority of the event. Shimoni explains that his department is responsible for overseeing approach roads and some other aspects, but the problem is that an agency to oversee the major annual event has never been established.
Rabbi Yosef Schvinger, who heads the government agency responsible for holy sites, sees his office as a primary organizer of the event, but he does not assume any responsibility for safety and security issues, only the overall logistical planning.
MK Miri Regev feels an office or authority needs to be established to accept overall responsibility and that entity must address any and all aspects of the event, in line with the recommendations appearing in the 2008 state comptroller’s report.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)