Simcha Bunim Diskind was among the 45 killed in the Meron disaster

Meron victims: Torah prodigy, singer from Montreal and father of two-week-old baby

Family members frantically attempted to contact their loved ones who were at Meron, not knowing if they were among the dead and injured; relatives of some victims learned of their loss when names of casualties began to appear on WhatsApp

Ynet |
Published: 04.30.21 , 15:20
Simcha Bunim Diskind was considered a brilliant Torah scholar and prodigy in his yeshiva. The 23-year-old member of the Ger Hassidic Dynasty, a married father of two from Beit Shemesh, was among the 45 people killed in a crush late Thursday night at an overcrowded Lag BaOmer festival in northern Israel.
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  • "We all know who is to blame for my brother's death," his grieving sibling Yisroel said Friday.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    שמחה בונים דיסקינד ז"ל
    שמחה בונים דיסקינד ז"ל
    Simcha Bunim Diskind was among the 45 killed in the Meron disaster
    (Photo: Natan Lori)
    "The police blocked the passage out of the compound. It is unfortunate that only when tragedy strikes there is a demand for responsibility," he said.
    "The Mount Meron site has been neglected for years and there is no proper access in and out of it," he said.
    Shragi Gestetner came to Israel from his home in Montreal especially for the Lag BaOmer celebrations. His uncle Ahreleh Sinai said the family was devastated.
    "We've lost a dear man," he said.
    "Shragi was a singer and a man of virtue but most of all he was an amazing dad to his five children. We must all reflect today and try to do good for the people of Israel," he said.
    (The tragedy at Mount Meron)
    Some of the families of the victims learned of their loss when the names of the dead began appearing on WhatsApp conversations before they had been contacted by the authorities.
    The sister of one victim, a father of nine, learned of his death via WhatsApp and angrily replied that this was not the way families should hear such tragic news.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    Bodies of the dead in the Meron disaster
    Bodies of the dead in the Meron disaster
    Bodies of the dead are placed in rows at the scene of the Meron disaster on Thursday night
    (Photo: Gil Nehushtan)
    Yisroel Bunim Diskind also learned of his brother's death through WhatsApp, as video clips of the disaster were posted on the app.
    "My parents are now sitting at home praying while my oldest brother was sent to identify his sibling," Yisroel said.
    "The last time we spoke was two weeks ago. He called me over the Purim holiday to tell me he loved me, and I joked with him and accused him of saying it just because he was drunk. He was a happy person and most photographs of him show him with a big smile on his face," he said.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    משפחות מחפשות מידע על יקיריהן באבו כביר
    משפחות מחפשות מידע על יקיריהן באבו כביר
    Bereaved Israelis arrive at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv on Friday morning to identify the dead
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Family members frantically attempted to contact loved ones who were at Meron, not knowing if they were among the dead or injured.
    The brother-in-law of Menachem Zakbach, who also perished in the tragedy, said he had spoken to him as he was on his way to the compound where the tragic event occurred.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מנחם זקבך ז"ל
    מנחם זקבך ז"ל
    Menachem Zakbach was one of the 45 victims of the disaster on Mount Meron
    "He didn't answer his phone all night and his wife and brothers were frantic. We called the hospitals, but they could not find him. We were also been in touch with the forensic institute where the dead were being sent. I guess the bodies arrived without personal effects to help in the identification process," he said.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מסע הלוויה של מנחם זקבך מבני ברק
    מסע הלוויה של מנחם זקבך מבני ברק
    The funeral for Menachem Zakbach in Bnei Brak on Friday afternoon
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    Menachem left his wife and their newborn daughter at home in Jerusalem to attend the event.
    "He would call home every few minutes to check on them but then we didn't we hear from him. Menachem was among the victims and was being buried Friday afternoon in Bnei Brak," his brother-in-law said.
    Funeral services for at least eight of the dead were to be held Friday afternoon in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem.
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