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‘Responsibility does not mean blame’ – Ohana deflects blame for Meron

CM 01/05/2021

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Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, who pushed for allowing unlimited access to Mount Meron on Thursday night, rejected calls for him to resign in a statement he released on Saturday night. 
“I am responsible but responsibility does not mean blame,” he said. “Everything possible is being done to make sure that Israel never again experience a disaster like this.”
Ohana deflected criticism of the police, who fall under the mandate of his ministry, for their role in failing to prevent Thursday night’s disaster.
Ohana made a point of not singling out the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sectors involved in the disaster, calling on the entire public to follow laws and directives.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Mount Meron on Friday morning as politicians across the parties called for accountability and investigation.
Those at the scene protested his visit by yelling and throwing bottles at him. In a meeting with the United Torah Judaism faction last Monday, Netanyahu promised the MKs that he would ensure that there would be no limit to participants at the Lag B’Omer events in Meron.
Both Defense Minister Benny Gantz and opposition leader Yair Lapid back an independent probe of the disaster. But Likud officials said they would not enable attempts to “chop off heads.” 

“Words cannot possibly offer comfort and cannot possibly describe the magnitude of pain caused by the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron,” Gantz tweeted.
“We are wholly committed to investigating the failures, drawing the necessary conclusions and applying them going forward so that this type of tragedy never repeats itself,” he said  
MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (Religious Zionist Party), who was in Meron all night, said the government must immediately form a commission of inquiry to probe what happened in Meron, rather than let the police investigate it themselves.
“This is not yet the time to point fingers until a thorough investigation of those responsible for the worst disaster in the history of the state” is done, Ben-Gvir said. “But one thing must be clear: The police cannot probe themselves. There must be an objective investigation.”
Ben-Gvir praised the police for enabling him to leave the mountain unscathed and helping many others.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak wrote on Twitter that “what is necessary is both soul searching and an investigation to ensure that lessons are learned and such a disaster will not be repeated.”
Even Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said “We have an obligation to clarify and understand what really happened there in order to prevent future awful disasters.”
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev called the incident “a colossal failure of the Public Security Ministry and the police.”
Ohana’s deputy in the Public Security Ministry, Likud MK Gadi Yevarkan, responded that “of course the incident will be probed properly and in depth and there is no question that will be left unanswered, but this is the time to focus on helping the families of the dead and the wounded.”
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, who came to Meron said: “This is one of the hardest events that Israel has ever experienced. This is a day of national mourning, but also of national unity and mutual responsibility.”
Bennett pointed out that a positive sign was that Israeli Arabs in the town of Tamra launched centers to aid those who were injured in the incident. 
“At this very hour, religious and secular Jews are coming together to donate blood,” he said. 
Ra’am head Mansour Abbas expressed his “deep sorrow for the victims” and said he was “praying for the speedy recovery of those injured” in a tweet on Friday. 
Sarah Ben-Nun contributed to this report

Source: Jerusalem Post

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