A mobile phone video circulated on Israeli media on Sunday captured the moment showing dozens of people being crushed in a crowd at a Jewish religious festival.

Forty-five people were killed during the stampede early on Friday.

Israel observed a day of mourning on Sunday for the people crushed to death, with flags lowered to half-staff and questions raised about accountability for one of the country’s worst civilian disasters.


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.

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.

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.