Israel observes day of mourning for 45 people crushed to death at Jewish religious festival

Israel on Sunday observed a day of mourning for the 45 people who were crushed to death at a religious Jewish festival.

Flags were lowered to half-staff and questions were raised about how the mishap happened.

Take a look below:

Funerals in sync with Jewish tradition

In accordance with Jewish tradition, funerals were held with as little delay as possible. More than 20 of the victims of Friday's disaster on Mount Meron were buried overnight after official identification was completed.

(Photograph:Reuters)

‘A pyramid of bodies’

Witnesses described a stampede and a pyramid of bodies, including several children, in a slippery metal-floored passageway at the annual pilgrimage of ultra-Orthodox faithful to the tomb of a second-century Jewish mystic, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, in northern Israel.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Event saw mass participation

Israeli media estimated that some 100,000 people attended the event on Friday, numbers that underscored a relaxing of coronavirus restrictions in a country that had sped ahead of others in its vaccination rollout.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Did the government do enough?

Questions were being raised as to whether the government and police had been reluctant to limit the crowd size at the site - labelled hazardous years ago by state inspectors - so as not to anger influential ultra-Orthodox rabbis and politicians.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Netanyahu promises investigation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an investigation. His presidential mandate to form a new government, after an inconclusive March 23 election, expires on Wednesday, but public calls to determine responsibility for the tragedy seemed certain to hound any incoming administration.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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