On May 16, at least two people were killed and more than 150 others were wounded when a bleacher collapsed at an uncompleted synagogue in Givat Zeev just outside of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
The bleacher was packed with ultra-Orthodox worshippers who were praying at the beginning of Shavuot. Videos of the accident surfaced online.
The Israeli military, that’s currently carrying out a major operation against Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, said in an official statement that it had dispatched medics and other search and rescue troops to assist at the scene. Some of the wounded were airlifted in military helicopters.
The mayor of Givat Zeev held the Israeli Police responsible. According to him, the police ignored previous calls to take action and evict the building because it was uncompleted and dangerous. Nevertheless, Jerusalem Police chief Doron Turgeman said that negligence was behind the accident, adding that arrests will likely be carried out.
The Givat Zeev accident comes after a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel that killed 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews. The accident, which took place on April 29, was the deadliest civilian disaster in the history of Israel.
The deadly accident will likely place more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling to stay in power while embarking on a military operation in Gaza. A few hours after the accident in Givat Zeev, the death toll from Israeli strikes on the Palestinian enclave reached 209. At least 55 of the casualties are children.
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