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Religious festival stampede in Israel kills 45, hurts dozens

Broken glasses are seen at the site where fatalities were reported during Lag BaOmer festival at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, Friday, April 30, 2021. A stampede at the religious festival attended by tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel killed dozens of people and injured more than 100 others early Friday, medical officials said, in one of the country's deadliest civilian disasters.

Jewish and pro-Israel organizations reacted with a mix of shock, grief and mourning over the tragedy in Meron on Friday morning that led to at least 45 dead and 150 wounded.

“There are no words to describe the terrible tragedy of what happened in Meron on the holy day of Lag B’Omer,” said Agudath Israel of America. “All of Klal Yisroel is numb with shock. So many deaths, so many injuries, so many broken hearts. The pain is unbearable.”

The Jewish Agency for Israel offered its “deepest condolences to the families of the victims and a quick and complete recovery to the wounded.”

The Israeli-American Council said it was “deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai at Mount Meron. Our hearts are with the families who lost their loved ones, and we send prayers for a full recovery to all those who are injured.”

“We are horrified by the tragedy at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on Mount Meron, where dozens died and many more were injured at the annual Lag B’Omer celebration,” wrote Dianne Lob, William Daroff and Malcolm Hoenlein. “As we continue to monitor this developing situation, the American Jewish community prays for the recovery of the victims and extends condolences to those who lost loved ones.”

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis said, “We are in shock and mourning over the catastrophe in Meron during the Lag B’Omer. Our prayers are with the wounded and victim’s families.”

Similarly, the American Jewish Committee said that “our hearts are with everyone at the Mount Meron Lag B’Omer celebration in Israel.”

“We pray for the recovery of those injured and mourn for the families who lost loved ones in this unspeakable tragedy,” said AJC. “May their memories be a blessing.”

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