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The Mount Meron tragedy is the ultra-Orthodox’s Chernobyl disaster

CM 06/05/2021


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 Now they tremble. Staring at 45 bodies, the people whose negligence enabled the Meron disaster are resisting a commission of inquiry’s establishment as forcefully as they resisted order’s imposition on the pilgrimage site that became a death trap. 

That resistance alone is reason enough to establish the panel whose verdict they fear. If only they had been burdened by this fear over the years in which they allowed this disaster to evolve. Now these cowards must be overruled. 
The only way to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies is to have this one probed thoroughly by a panel whose power, authority and impartiality will be unquestionable, and such a panel can only be a judicial commission of inquiry. 
The commission’s members should be collectively familiar with investigation, government, religion, ultra-Orthodoxy, politics, law and public administration. 
By Israeli law, its chair should be a judge. A good choice would therefore be retired Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein. In addition to his judicial experience and his additional credentials as a former attorney-general, the 73-year-old jurist also served as cabinet secretary for both Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin. In short, he knows the system, and is consensual. 
In addition, the Orthodox Rubinstein is a Talmudic scholar familiar with ultra-Orthodoxy’s inner language, politics and norms. Rubinstein is thus equipped to understand, and win the respect of, Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy while leading the probe into the worst disaster it ever sustained. 
The second member should be Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot. The former chief of General Staff headed the country’s biggest and most complex employer, and is therefore equipped to understand what engineers, architects and bureaucrats will explain to him concerning the compound’s physical evolution. 

Eisenkot will also be in a position to probe police brass fearlessly and authoritatively. Lastly, as the son of immigrants from Morocco, his presence on the commission will prevent expectable claims that the panel is biased against non-Ashkenazi politicians like Arye Deri
The commission’s third member should be an expert on politics and government. An ideal candidate for this is Hebrew University’s Shlomo Avineri, the dean of Israel’s political scientists, with whom the commission will map and critique the political-administrative complex that produced the worst civilian disaster in Israel’s 73 years. 
Added up, this threesome brings all the knowledge, balance, and caution it will have to deploy when passing judgments that will end people’s careers.
THE COMMISSION should answer four questions:
First: Who was in charge? Second: What were they supposed to do? Third: What did they actually do? And lastly: Why didn’t they do what they were supposed to do?
The commission will then charge individuals, the way previous commissions did. It would be premature to predict the commission’s personal conclusions. It is not premature to predict its non-personal conclusions. 
The original sin at Mount Meron, the report will assert, was the Jewish state’s elbowing by the ghetto, by outfits like the anti-Zionist hassidic sect whose fiefdom shouldered the disaster. 
Clearly, the government abandoned the mountain to a celebration of construction violations, allowing the growth of an anarchic jungle where legal authority, civil planning and public discipline were all laughingstocks.
Once it will have established this, the commission will seek this conduct’s roots. That is where it will proceed from matters of planning and policing into matters of politics and faith. 
Religiously, the question will be why the mountain was parceled between multiple sects, and why Lag Ba’omer, of all holidays, became the focus of this atomization. 
The commission will likely avoid discussion of Lag Ba’omer’s history, which is actually fascinating, and also telling. Most people don’t know this, but this holiday is not even mentioned in the Mishna and Talmud, and towering scholars like Rashi, Maimonides and the Vilna Gaon never celebrated it. 
The holiday that became a pagan celebration of fire, dead souls and escapism was invented by Galilean mystics in the 16th century. Rabbi Moshe Sofer (1762-1839), widely seen as ultra-Orthodoxy’s founder, ruled against its celebration. 
Had Rabbi Sofer seen what happened annually at Mount Meron – rabbis kindling bonfires to the singing of thousands seeking communication with an ancient rabbi’s soul – he would have fumed, much the way Moses did when he saw the Golden Calf. 
The commission will likely avoid discussion of this perplexing history, but it should bear it in mind, because it can help explain the lawlessness that this feast has come to foment. 
AFTER LISTING what went wrong technically – namely, what the mountain’s maximum capacity should have been, how it should have been secured, and how it was breached – the commission will expose the calamity’s political setting. 
That is when the tragedy on the mountain will emerge as the fruit and emblem of the corrupt deal that shaped Israeli politics for the better part of half-a-century: the pact whereby the political hegemon ruled the rest of us while demanding nothing from, and ceding everything to, its ultra-Orthodox friends. 
Brazen, cynical and woefully immoral, this deal seemed as omnipotent here as the communist deal was in the USSR. The communists collapsed for many reasons, but the blow that floored them was the Chernobyl disaster, because it made them lose their people’s trust. Similarly, ultra-Orthodox Israelis will now realize they have been led by self-serving manipulators who deformed life and sowed death. 
Yes, the Meron disaster’s political engineers will try their best to prevent a commission of inquiry’s creation, the way the Soviets tried to hide Chernobyl. Truth will defy them. Like volcanic lava it will burst from below, and like a radioactive cloud it will hover from above, for, as the Levites sang at the Temple (Psalms 85:12), “Truth springs up from the earth,” and “justice looks down from heaven.”
Amotz Asa-El’s bestselling Mitzad Ha’ivelet Ha’yehudi (The Jewish March of Folly, Yediot Sefarim, 2019) is a revisionist history of the Jewish people’s leadership from antiquity to modernity.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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