Disaster as bleacher collapses in Jerusalem synagogue, killing 2

Over 200 worshippers were injured and two killed when a bleacher collapsed in an unfinished synagogue in the Givat Zeev neighborhood of Jerusalem.

By World Israel News Staff

With the tragedy at Mount Meron still fresh in the minds of Israelis, and in particular the haredi population, a fresh disaster was visited upon that community when bleachers collapsed at the start of the Shavuot holiday on Sunday evening.

The stands fell under the weight of the people on them at around 7:00 p.m. killing a 12-year-old boy and a 40-year-old man and sending over 50 to hospitals. Fifteen are listed in serious condition. Two hundred and nineteen were injured in total.

It was estimated that some 600 people were in the synagogue, which was unfinished and not approved for use. Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turjeman said those responsible will be arrested.

“During the past week a meeting was held, during which the commander of the station informed the head of the council that this structure cannot hold prayers in it, and clear instructions were given accordingly,” Turjeman said.

The stands on which the worshippers stood was temporary and put up for the Shavuot holiday.

Givat Zeev Council Chairman Yossi Avrahami said, “The council contacted all parties and warned about this issue. We put up signs saying that the site here is dangerous and from the council’s point of view it wasn’t possible to enter and hold the event here. Unfortunately, we did not receive assistance from police.”

The tragedy follows the one on April 30 at Mount Meron where 45 were killed when they were trapped in a tunnel during the Lag BaOmer holiday. Some of the blame fell on the haredi leadership, which rejected attempts to approve the site by the government, fearing a loss of authority and viewing a government takeover as a threat to the holiness of the site.