Two Victims of West Bank Synagogue Disaster, Aged 13 and 23, Laid to Rest

Meir Gleiberman, who had just celebrated his bar mitzvah, and Rabbi Mordechai Binyamin Rubinstein, a new father, died when a grandstand collapsed during Shavuot prayers

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One of the victims of the Givat Ze'ev disaster, 13-year-old Meir Gleiberman.
One of the victims of the Givat Ze'ev disaster, 13-year-old Meir Gleiberman.Credit:
Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz

Funerals were held Monday evening for the two victims of the grandstand collapse at a synagogue in Givat Ze’ev, near Jerusalem on Sunday. The funerals were held outside of the synagogue where the disaster occurred.

The two victims have been identified as 13-year-old Meir Gleiberman, who only recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and was in the 9th grade at Karlin School in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit, and Rabbi Mordechai Binyamin Rubinstein, a 23-year-old resident of Beitar Illit, and new father to a baby daughter.

In addition to the two fatalities, dozens were injured, some critically, when a grandstand seating area collapsed in a crowded synagogue in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The collapsed stands in Givat Ze'ev, today.Credit: Josh Breiner

According to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, there are still 33 people being treated following injuries from the disaster in Givat Ze'ev. Six of the wounded are in serious condition and the rest in mild and moderate condition.

At Shaare Zedek, 115 wounded from the incident were treated by more than 200 staff members. During the night, eight urgent and life-saving surgeries were performed. 

The Beitar Ilit municipality said, "we are bereaved and shocked by the death of two city residents in the terrible disaster that occured on the eve of Shavuot." The city extended their condolences to the families and said that emergency response staff had been providing aid to members of the community throughout the holiday. "We will continue to accompany the families in dealing with this difficult event," the municipality said.

The incident occurred in Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem, in a synagogue that was still under construction. Television footage from the scene showed the building was incomplete, with exposed concrete and boards visible.

Emergency responders following the Givat Ze'ev disaster near Jerusalem on Sunday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Emergency medical teams initially reported 184 casualties overall, including six in serious condition and 10 in moderate condition. 

A police spokesman said 650 worshippers were in the synagogue, affiliated with the Karlin Hasidic dynasty, at the time for the start of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

The local government, police and fire and rescue services all dodged responsibility for approving the event, which was publicized over the past days, despite the fact the building was still under construction.

Josh Breiner and Nir Hasson contributed to this report.

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