Yet more proof that Israel has no control – chooses to take no control – over its wildly destructive ultraorthodox. Tonight they massed in celebration at a notorious “death trap,” and dozens of them died. Some among them must have known they were dangerously crowded; some must also have heard tell of a pandemic. Neither of these things stopped them; nor did state authorities stop them. Authorities merely warned them. “Authorities had authorised 10,000 people to attend the gathering at the tomb, but festival organisers estimated that 100,000 people were at the site.” Additional buses approached as the disaster occurred, bringing tens of thousands more. “The pilgrimage was held this year despite warnings from Israeli health officials that it could lead to coronavirus cases — a danger heightened by the fact that some parts of ultra-Orthodox communities have been hesitant to get vaccinated.”

[O]verall responsibility for the site has long been contested between religious authorities and state authorities, handicapping efforts to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to cope with crowds at a site second only to the Western Wall in terms of its popularity. Israel’s state comptroller had specified in 2008 that Mount Meron “is not appropriately prepared for mass events,” Channel 12 news noted on Friday. A 2016 police report also warned of looming disaster.

The benighted throng hurled itself into its overstuffed ecstasies and asphyxiated. Children died. Absolutely these people brought children to massive chaotic late night bedlam; and hey – kids are small and they get crushed first.

“Rabbi Shimon [the object of the celebration] used to say that he could absolve the world … If he didn’t manage to cancel this edict on the very day of his exaltation, then we need to do real soul-searching.” Thus saideth one of the surviving ecstatics, and ain’t it a pity that the mindless rigidity of his cult means no soul-searching and certainly no practical changes in their staging of their ecstasies will occur; and certainly the cynical political leadership of Israel will do – as they did tonight – little more than evacuate the dead.

The model here is clearly the hajj. Theocracies tend to bleed their way through these spectacles.

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A rescue worker: “We have to wake up, it’s shocking how many people were allowed to enter.” And who allowed them?

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[In the sect of ultraorthodoxy present at the stampede], cohesion is as tight as super glue. In contrast, the outside world – especially anything affiliated with Zionism – is described as dark and evil. [Yeah, you read dat right.] [The sect members] do not view themselves as individuals... “No one would ever think of involving outsiders in internal issues of the community, let alone representatives of the Zionist entity, which is perceived as an apostate body inimical to the sect’s belief system.”

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