Disaster At Mount Meron
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Last night and today, 300,000 Jews went to the reputed tomb of the Mishnaic sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai outside the tiny northern Israel town of Meron for Lag Ba'omer – the purported day of Bar Yochai’s death,
But public transportation services, private buses and the road infrastructure itself was unable to accommodate failed to accommodate the crush of celebrants, leaving many trapped for hours on buses miles away from the site, and many others trapped at the site seeking to leave.
And it was hot – very hot – and many people had no water.
Ha’aretz reports that a woman whose bus got stuck in traffic on its way to the site from Jerusalem decided to walk to the site on foot. She collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Tzefat.
United Hatzalah reportedly dispatched volunteer medical crews to the site to provide first aid and give out water.
"It wasn't a pretty picture. People charged at every bus that arrived, trampling each other. Some were injured and fainted. It's unclear what caused the failure," the chairman of United Hatzalah Ze'ev Kashash told Ha’aretz, referring to the breakdown in the transportation services.
Egged bus company’s spokesman Ron Ratner said hundreds of its buses and buses from other companies got stuck on the roads circling the pilgrimage site, which caused major delays.
Israel Police reportedly claim a total of 250,000 people were expected at Bar Yochai’s burial site for this year’s celebration. However, approximately 200,000 arrived overnight alone.
"It's inevitable that a large number of revelers will cause heavy traffic," a police spokesman reportedly said.