Police: Mount Herzl lighting expert had no permit

Yitzhak Zuker, security expert, unable to produce permit showing was a qualified expert to police.

April 20, 2012 12:01
2 minute read.
Lighting rig falls at Har Herzl

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


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The security expert, Yitzhak Zuker, who approved the safety of the light fixture which fell and caused the tragic events on Mount Herzl on Wednesday, told police during a Friday interrogation that he has never possessed or been granted a permit validating that he was a qualified expert on the issue.

On Wednesday, 20-year-old IDF officer Hila Bezaleli was killed and others were injured when a light fixture collapsed on the event's main stage during preparations for a Jerusalem Independence Day ceremony.

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The police are also checking if the tender for building the lighting for the ceremony was granted on the basis of family or other prohibited connections between the winning bidder and employees of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Army Radio reported.

Police may summon senior officials from the ministry for questioning, although the ministry said that at this time "the issue is not familiar to us" and "we have not received any summons from the police," according to Army Radio.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem District Court granted the police's request on Friday to keep one of the suspects in custody who was implicated with responsibility in the fatal accident. The order followed his arrest on Thursday.

The suspect, who was hired as the event's producer, is suspected of negligently causing the death of Bezaleli.

The producer, whose identity was withheld, was the fifth suspect a special police investigating teams has detained on suspicions of bearing the responsibility for the accident, and the only suspect for whom the court has ordered a remand extension.

On Thursday, police released one suspect, while a judge ordered the release of three people who were arrested in connection with the accident. The Jerusalem District Court will hear a police appeal later Friday against the court's decision to order the release of those three suspects: engineer Oren Warshavsky, safety consultant Isaac Zucker, and the chief operating officer of the company, Stage Design, Elad Lavi.

Following the incident it became unclear whether the event could be held in the same location as planned. The Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs was working hard Friday to obtain all approvals necessary in order to hold the ceremony as planned.

Officials said that it was still possible that the administrative processes might not be completed in time and that the ceremony would need to take place in another location. One possible alternative being considered was in the open area next to the Knesset building.

A final decision regarding the ceremony's location is not expected prior to the beginning of next week.

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