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Israel’s Government Approves Inquiry Into Meron Stampede

Israel’s government approved the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into the stampede at Mount Meron that led to the death of 45 men and boys who were crushed to death.

The Cabinet on Sunday at its first weekly meeting approved the proposal to form the commission, put forward by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman.

“This commission of inquiry is our moral obligation to the Israeli public and to the families who lost loved ones. We must make sure that a tragedy of this nature never repeats itself. The taskforce’s purpose is, above anything else, to save human life,” Gantz said in a statement after the approval.

“Now is the time to draw conclusions, to take responsibility and prevent the next disaster. That is how a government set on improving the people’s faith in it, behaves. I reiterate my genuine condolences to the families of the victims. We are here for you,” Liberman said in the joint statement.

The Finance Ministry will allocate 6 million shekels for the commission’s work. The chairman and members of the commission will be appointed by the president of Israel’s Supreme Court.

The families of the victims, which include several children, had called for such an investigation and welcomed the approval. The Forum of Families of Meron Victims called it a “very important decision, although it will not bring back our most beloved ones, at least we will be able to ensure the prevention of another disaster.”