Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an influential figure in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, is the latest leader to apparently avoid blaming anyone for the Mount Meron stampede that killed 45 pilgrims
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (center), last year.Credit: Ohad ZwigenbergHaaretzMay. 4, 2021 10:13 PM
Prominent ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky said in a letter the Mount Meron disaster that killed 45 Jewish worshipers last week was a “divine decree,” calling on followers to practice religious rituals more stringently.
Kanievsky, leader of “Lithuanian” non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox community, who also yields political influence and is considered as an authority on Jewish law, said “women should be more modest” in wake of the disaster, so as to please God.
He also called on his many followers to study religious texts and perform a hand-washing ritual more strictly.
Kanievsky’s Monday letter omitted any reference to possible flaws in the way the annual event at Mount Meron was handled by authorities or officials in the religious organizations that run the site.
On Monday, Interior Minister Arye Dery, leader of the ultra-Orthodox party, addressed the Mount Meron disaster, saying that “the terrible disaster that happened is a sign from heaven, but that doesn’t exempt us from scrutiny and self-examination.”- Advertisment –
Another ultra-Orthodox lawmaker, Moshe Gafni, chairman of United Torah Judaism, called on the government to involve itself in the administration of the Mount Meron site. “Blame isn’t the issue,” he said. “If there is going to be an investigating committee, it will find some police officer to blame but this isn’t the problem.”
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Public Security Minister Amir Ohana called for national unity. “In the face of the great pain” he urged the country to put “all the political cynicism aside, bow one’s head, respect the dead and do everything to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.”