A few minutes into PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speech, a number of relatives of those killed in the devastating wildfire interrupted him and caused the event to come to a complete stop. "Liar. There are victims. Go home" were the calls that came from the audience. The event continued only after Interior Minister Eli Yishai was forced to leave. He was escorted to a side room shamefacedly, after which Netanyahu was allowed to continue, with interruptions.
The first demand came from Danny Rosen, partner of fallen Haifa Police commander Ahuva Tomer. He passed a letter to the prime minister and called to him: "Throw out Eli Yishai". A few minutes later, dozens of participants, relatives of the casualties, started to yell and disrupted the prime minister's speech until the interior minister was forced to leave the event.
Rosen continued to yell, "If Yishai doesn't leave, I will" – while trying to get close to the interior minister. Security officers prevented him from reaching the minister. After a few minutes the entire audience became agitated and when they did not settle, the interior minister left the room accompanied by the two chief rabbis.
Danny Rosen cries out (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
When Netanyahu finished his speech, the audience erupted once again. "Where is the truth, it must come out," the bereaved families called. "We demand an inquiry committee," others yelled.
The highest echelons of the police, prison service and fire and rescue services were present at the event. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish and senior ministers joined the prime minister and interior minister at the ceremony.
Each of the names of the 44 casualties of the Carmel fire disaster was read out as the ceremony began. President Shimon Peres then gave a speech, which he managed to finish without any interruptions from the audience. "In those moments, when the firefighters stood in front of that wall of fire and today, as we mark 30 days since the disaster, we stand here as a shocked nation, unprepared for the disaster," said the president.
"This is the truth, painful though it may be: We weren't prepared for the fire, we couldn't imagine that this would happen. Thus, the flames scorched the hearts of the families and the confidence of a nation. A nation that followed the efforts to enlist foreign aid, and which cherished those efforts. Now we must learn our lessons."
In response to his removal from a state ceremony Minister Yishai said, "The loss of the bereaved families is too hard to bear. They are saying what is in their hearts out of pain. My heart goes out to them."
Netanyahu said after the ceremony that he was aware of the pain and loss felt by the families.
"I know the pain and am aware of the magnitude of the loss and the empty space left in the lives of the bereaved families," he noted.
Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar told Ynet that while he understands the bereaved families, "they should have controlled their emotions and refrain from insulting Yishai."
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said "it pained me to see Yishai humiliated in public."
Attila Somfalvi and Kobi Nahshoni contributed to the report
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook