Northern District Police Commander and Meron witness Shimon Lavi quits - report

Shortly after the Meron tragedy, Lavi became the first to speak about what had occurred and said that he was willing to take responsibility for the tragedy.

Commander of the Northern District Police Superintendent Shimon Lavi, the first witness of the Meron committee on August 22. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Commander of the Northern District Police Superintendent Shimon Lavi, the first witness of the Meron committee on August 22.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Northern District Police Superintendent Shimon Lavi, who had previously taken responsibility for the Meron Disaster in which 45 died in April 2021, has quit the police force, he announced on Monday evening.

The deaths occurred during Lag Ba’omer celebrations when thousands of Haredi men and boys exited a central plaza via a narrow metal walkway which became overcrowded and bottlenecked, causing asphyxiation in the subsequent crush.

Along with Police Chief Kobi Shabtai, Lavi was at the scene of the stampede throughout the night overseeing operations to evacuate the injured as well as the remainder of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who came to the bonfire-lighting ceremony at the holy Jewish site.

Shortly after the event, Lavi became the first to speak about what had occurred to the press and said that he was willing to take responsibility for the tragedy.

“I am prepared for any investigation and review but I ask: Please wait with the results of the probe,” he told reporters at the time. “This was definitely not the responsibility of the police – and do not be quick to jump and grab onto this video or that video which is part of a much larger event.”

 FUNERAL FOR brothers Yosef David Elhadar and Moshe Mordechai Elhadar (opposite, far right), killed in the Meron tragedy; flames of remembrance for 45 victims; both May 2, 2021.  (credit: FLASH90) FUNERAL FOR brothers Yosef David Elhadar and Moshe Mordechai Elhadar (opposite, far right), killed in the Meron tragedy; flames of remembrance for 45 victims; both May 2, 2021. (credit: FLASH90)

Following his announcement of his departure from the police force, Shabtai wished him success in his future endeavors.