Stampede at Israeli Pilgrimage site

A massive stampede at Meron, a Jewish Pilgrimage site in Israel killed at least 44 people. This was the largest COVID-19 era gathering of Israel.

About the disaster

  • The stampede occurred at the most reputed tomb of Shimon Bar Yochai. He was a second century sage.
  • The pilgrimage was closed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • Though Israel has vaccinated more than 9.3 million population, the restrictions on massive gatherings still remain in place. Only 10,000 people were authorised to gather at the site. However, more than 30,000 arrived at the site.

Shimon bar Yochai

  • He was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. The works Mekhilta and Sifre are attributed to him.
  • He was an active participant of the destruction of the second temple.

First and Second Temples

  • The First temple was built in 1000 BC by King Solomon. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (King of Babylon) when he captured Jerusalem.
  • The time of Second temple is divided into different periods namely the Roman period (63 BC), Hellenstic period (332 BC) and Persian period (586 BC). The temple was destroyed during the Roman period in AD 70.
  • These were Jewish temples. The destruction of the temples are marked in the Jewish calendar as the “day of mourning” called Tisha B’av.

Meron

Meron is a town in Israel. It is located on the slopes of Mt Meron. It is famous for annual mass public commemoration of Lag Ba’Omer. Lag Ba’Omer marks the death anniversary of Shimon bar Yochai, the Rashbi.

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