Meron to October 7: Netanyahu shirks personal responsibility

Benjamin Netanyahu credit: Kobi Gidon GPO
Benjamin Netanyahu credit: Kobi Gidon GPO

The State Commission of Inquiry into the Meron disaster gives a foretaste of what the public can expect when the security failures on October 7 are investigated.

The State Commission of Inquiry into the Meron disaster, the biggest civilian tragedy in the country's history, gives a foretaste of what the public can expect when a State Commission of Inquiry investigates the security failures on October 7, and how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will relate to any report that might be written.

The inquiry into the deadly Meron stampede, in which 45 Israelis were crushed to death during Lag B'Omer celebrations in 2021, blamed top officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the events. The members of the commission identified a problematic situation in taking responsibility and emphasized "a bleak picture was revealed on the subject of bearing responsibility."

Netanyahu claimed that he cannot bear responsibility for things that he did not know about and that nobody had "grabbed hold of him" in order to warn him. But the commission of inquiry was not impressed by this and ruled that he has personal responsibility for what happened on Mount Meron.

Netanyahu knew, or should have known, that the pilgrimage site could pose a risk to the masses of visitors. In a normal democratic country, a prime minister found personally responsible for a disaster of this magnitude would resign. But in Israel, the Likud party that Netanyahu leads reacted indignantly and insisted that the findings of the report were "clearly politically biased," because the Commission was appointed by the previous government. Since October 7, Netanyahu has avoided taking responsibility for the failures, while senior members of the defense establishment - including the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi - have already stated that they bear responsibility and will resign from their positions.

So in effect the Meron State Commission of Inquiry is merely a curtain raiser for the Oct 7 report that will be delivered in several years. From reading the commission's Meron conclusions, one can already imagine these same failures being responsible for the October 7 failures, which led to the atrocities committed by Hamas - ignoring repeated warnings, fixated with a concept, and political involvement that had a negative impact on decision-making.

If the prime minister does not take responsibility for a shocking omission that led to citizens being murdered in their homes, and the minister in charge of the police makes it clear that the disaster in his area of responsibility was not his fault, the conclusions of any State Commission of Inquiry will not be of any use. If elected representatives cannot show leadership, then the public will have to decide through the ballot box.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 7, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Benjamin Netanyahu credit: Kobi Gidon GPO
Benjamin Netanyahu credit: Kobi Gidon GPO
Twitter Facebook Linkedin RSS Newsletters גלובס Israel Business Conference 2018