As a nation, we are all attempting to digest the horror that we witnessed on Meron this Lag Baomer. We all feel so much pain for the families who lost their sons, brothers and fathers. But what about the survivors? And what about the selfless individuals who spent hours risking their own lives that night, thereby saving the lives of hundreds of people?
Vice president of Ichud Hatzalah Dov Maisel shares his harrowing experience that night:
“People were literally falling off roofs as they were climbing to get out of the area. It was apocalyptic…Our own volunteers broke down themselves and were assisted by our psychological trauma unit.”
Volunteer Itzik Itach describes the night as one that he will never forget:
“There were bodies piled up on top of each other—some of the people were alive, and some of them were already dead. I have never seen anything like this before. We had to decide who to treat first. We’re talking about hundreds of people injured in the midst of thousands of people in the crowd.”
A Hatzalah volunteer re-lived the haunting night in an emotional interview yesterday: “It took me a minute or two from the moment I arrived at the scene, and realized that there was CPR being done on four people, to understand that I have 20 more unconscious people….I got there to help a teammate and was horrified to find that it was with CPR on a 12-year-old,” he said.
“I was knocked to the ground [by the crowd], and I found myself lying next to a 12-year-old boy who was killed. When I tried to get up, the crowd was just running over me, and I was lying next to him.”
The haunting memories will forever be etched into the memories of so many of us. But amidst all the pain, we are sensing another feeling: Love. Jews of all types lined up to donate blood to the wounded, secular TV anchors wept on live television, and hundreds have united to donate money to the victims’ families as well.
Though many of us are swept away by the terrifying stories of that night, we can’t possibly forget those who are suffering the most right now: The families of those lost in Meron. Women lost their husbands, and little children lost their fathers. Widows now face the terrifying challenge of raising their orphaned children all on their own. Charity organization Vaad HaRabbanim is urgently raising funds to help provide the families in need with financial relief. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.