North West man among 45 killed in Israel stampede, says Foreign Office

A British man was among 45 people killed in a stampede at a Jewish festival in Israel, the Foreign Office has said.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 1:09 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd May 2021, 1:33 pm
A police officer walks at the scene where dozens were killed in a crush at a religious festival in Mount Meron on April 30, 2021 in Meron, Israel. At least 44 people were crushed to death and over 150 more injured in a stampede, as tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate the Lag B'omer event, late Thursday. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The man, named in reports as 24-year-old Moshe Bergman, from Manchester, was killed during the disaster at Mount Meron on Friday.

He was reportedly studying in Israel where he lived with his wife who he married around 18 months ago.

A Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a British man who sadly died at the Mount Meron stampede.”

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The crush took place at the Lag BaOmer religious festival, which was attended by nearly 100,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel.

It occurred as thousands of people funnelled through a narrow passageway descending the mountain early on Friday.

People then reportedly fell on top of each other near a walkway after going down metal stairs.

Some 45 people were killed and 150 were injured in what has been described as Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster.

The festival went ahead despite national coronavirus restrictions preventing gatherings of more than 500 people outdoors.

The site is believed to be the burial place of prominent second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

In a message of condolence to Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin, the Queen said she was “deeply saddened” by the disaster.

She wrote: “My thoughts are with all those who have been injured, and the friends and families of those who lost their lives. They have my deepest sympathies.”

The country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has promised an inquiry will take place into the tragedy, after calling it “one of the worst disasters that has befallen the state of Israel”.

However, while visiting the area, Mr Netanyahu was jeered by dozens of ultra-Orthodox protesters who blamed the government and police for the incident.