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British victim of deadly Israeli religious festival crush named

Calls have been made for an investigation into the incident [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 May, 2021

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Moshe Bergman, a trainee rabbi from Salford, has been named as a victim of the recent crush in Israel, which killed 45 people.
A 24-year-old man from Salford, Manchester, who was in Israel to train as a rabbi, has been named as one of the victims killed in the recent deadly crush in Israel. 

Moshe Bergman had been living in Israel and training in Jerusalem for two years, and married just 18 months ago. 

Bergman was described as a "dedicated husband" and a "caring and compassionate young man", by Salford local, Rabbi Arnold Saunders. 

"The family have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from family and friends and the authorities. They have accepted that this was a tragic accident and as people of faith accept the will of God. They don’t want to engage in a blame game," Rabbi Saunders told the Manchester Evening News.

"They want the facts to be investigated to ensure nothing like this ever happens again, but there is no bitterness," he added. 

Bergman was reportedly buried on Sunday in Jerusalem and his family has flown out to join his wife, Shira, to mourn his passing. 

Forty-five men and boys were crushed to death on Friday at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, near Mount Meron in northern Israel. The pilgrimage marked the start of the Lag B'Omer festival Jewish festival, which attracted as many as 100,000 attendees. 

The crush occurred in the male section, as visitors were funnelled down a narrow passageway. 

Along with Bergman and the other killed Israelis, were foreign nationals from the US, Canada, Argentina and France. 

Following the tragedy, there have been calls for an investigation, to determine what went wrong.

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"A thorough inquiry is required. This terrible disaster will help everyone understand... that there should be no place where the state does not set the rules," Culture Minister Hili Tropper told the Kan public broadcaster. 

Benny Gantz has called on the country's attorney general to determine whether Israel's transitional government can launch a state commission of inquiry, Israel’s highest level of investigation, according to AFP.

It is not known what sparked the fatal crush but police sources told Haaretz that some people slipped on the steps causing others to fall.

Other witnesses claimed that police barricades prevented people from leaving the crowded area.

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