Court: Release all suspects in Mt. Herzl disaster

By MELANIE LIDMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
April 19, 2012 16:38

Suspects allegedly engaged in forgery, bribery, negligence, leading to J'lem stage collapse, death of IDF officer Bezaleli.

1 minute read.



Lighting rig falls at Har Herzl

Lighting rig falls at Har Herzl 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday ordered the release, with conditions, of all four suspects that had been arrested in connection with the collapse of a lighting rig above a stage at the capital's Mount Herzl that killed one female soldier and injured a number of others.

The suspects include the two owners of the 'Itzuv Bama' company, the company engineer, and a security consultant from the public diplomacy administration.The suspects are accused of causing death by negligence, forgery and accepting bribes.

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Lawyers of the suspects claimed that the arrests were made prematurely and should have waited until the full investigation finished. Police said there could be additional arrests as more details come to light.

Commander Itzik Simon, a representative of the police, said Thursday that "what happened here is a long chain of failures at every stage and in the preparations of building the structure." He called it "negiligence at the highest level that I have seen."

Soldiers taking part in the rehearsals on the stage for Independence Day ceremonies had warned 20 minutes before the collapse that the lighting rig appeared unstable, but their calls were ignored.


Twenty-year-old Hila Bezaleli, who was killed when the lighting structure fell on her, was laid to rest at the Mount Herzl military ceremony late on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people attended the funeral.

Four others were injured, one critically, during the rehearsal for the annual celebration of Independence Day when the 10-meter-tall steel light rigging system collapsed. The other victims were injured lightly and treated at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

Witnesses said the steel structure was wavering dangerously in the wind, and someone called out “It’s going to fall!” before the entire structure crashed to the ground. One teenage Jerusalem resident, who was watching his cousin at the rehearsal, said he saw Bezaleli lying on the ground after the columns collapsed.

Jerusalem District Police Dep.-Cmdr. Manny Yitzhaki said police were investigating every angle of the incident. “We will investigate the facts one by one to understand how this happened and who is responsible,” he said.

Yitzhaki added that police were checking how the structure was built and had detained a number of engineers involved in its construction for questioning.

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