26 May 2021

Families Demand a Independent State Commission of Inquiry

The families of the victims of the Meron disaster sent a letter on Sunday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanding the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into the disaster.

The families also sent copies of the letters to UTJ chairman Moshe Gafni, Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai.

“Unfortunately, in recent days, some are calling for an investigation that is not part of an independent state commission of inquiry,” the letter stated.

“We, the representatives of the bereaved families…wish to clearly and unequivocally say – all the families together – that we are demanding an independent state commission of inquiry. We believe that only a state commission of inquiry will carry out a thorough and decisive investigation.”

“In addition, the members of the commission should understand the Chareidi lifestyles of the victims and include representatives of the bereaved families.”

In conclusion, the letter stated: “We view the Meron tragedy as the civilian Yom Kippur of the state. Our goal is that this committee will prevent the next disaster and also exhaust the full extent of the law against all parties in the most appropriate manner.”

On Monday morning, a measure proposed by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to fast-track the establishment of a state commission of inquiry was approved by a 19-13 vote. MKs from the Chareidi parties, the Religious Zionist party and the Likud party voted against the bill for several reasons, some political.

The Charedi parties have been demanding a public inquiry rather than a state one since the Supreme Court will appoint the judge heading the inquiry as well as the other members of the commission. As is well-known, the Supreme Court has many left-leaning judges, and many leftist and anti-religious decisions are issued from the court. Religious Zionist chairman Betzalel Smotrich said he voted against the bill because he doesn’t trust the judicial system and fears they could even prevent holding segregated tefillos at Meron in the future, as they ruled in the past that concerts with separate seating for men and women are illegal.

Despite voting against the bill, UTJ MKs Yitzchak Pindrus and Yaakov Tessler sent a letter to Netanyahu on Monday requesting that the state commission be established as soon as possible, without any politically motivated delays. They explained that although they voted against the bill in accordance with the decision of the right-wing bloc, it was contrary to their strong feelings that such a tragedy must be thoroughly investigated as soon as possible.

UTJ chairman Moshe Gafni also expressed his support for establishing a state commission of inquiry despite voting against it.


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