World Offers Condolences After Lag Ba'Omer Festivities Turn Deadly in Northern Israel

The U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Ukraine, Bahrain, India, Turkey and the European Union express solidarity with Israel after 44 people were killed and over 150 injured at the annual Lag Ba'Omer celebration

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Medics and rescue workers attend to the Lag Ba'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel,today.
Medics and rescue workers attend to the Lag Ba'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel,today.Credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Many countries have extended their condolences to Israel after at least 44 people were killed and over 150 injured at the mass Lag Ba'Omer festivities at Mount Meron in the north.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement of condolences early Friday morning. 

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"Our hearts go out to the people of Israel tonight following the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron. We offer our condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this disaster, and wish a full and swift recovery to those injured," Sullivan tweeted. He also called Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to extend his sympathies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tweeted Friday that "We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy that occurred at Mount Meron in Israel. We mourn the lives lost, extend our deepest condolences to the families, and pray for the injured to recover quickly."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wrote a letter to President Reuven Rivlin on Friday expressing his sorrow at "the disaster that lead to the deaths of dozens of victims," and added, "we are praying for the victims and wishing a speedy recovery to the wounded."

"My thoughts are with the Israeli people and those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday after the devastating catastrophe has unfolded.

The French Foreign Ministry is "deeply shocked to learn that over 40 people died and more than 100 were injured after being crushed in a crowd during a pilgrimage at Mount Meron, in northern Israel."

"France extends its sincere condolences to the families and close friends of those killed in this tragedy and wishes the injured a speedy recovery," the foreign ministry wrote in a letter to Israel.

The Italian Foreign Ministry expressed his shock on Friday and said it is "saddened by the tragic event" at Mount Meron. "We send our deepest condolences to Israel and its people."  

Bahrain's foreign minister also issued a statement on Friday, offering his condolences to his Israeli counterpart Ashkenazi. Emirati Foreign Minister Minister Abdullah bin Zayed also called Ashkenazi to offer his sympathies. The Foreign Ministry received condolences throughout Friday from a number of Arab states, mainly those who have diplomatic ties with Israel.  

"Your Excellency, I was greatly saddened to hear of the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron, which claimed the lives of 44 people, may their souls rest in peace, and write to extend my heartfelt sympathies on this untimely loss. In extending sincere condolences to you, your Government and the bereaved families, I pray that you may be granted strength and fortitude at this sad time. With my renewed deepest sympathies," the statement said.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry also addressed the catastrophe: "Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic events at Mount Meron in Israel. Our hearts go out to the people of Israel and the families and loved ones of the victims. We wish a swift recovery to all those injured." 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said that "The news reaching us this morning of the tragedy at the Lag Ba'Omer holiday on Mt. Meron in Israel are devastating. Our thoughts are with the victims' families and loved ones."

"We extend our sincere condolences to the people of Israel and to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the tragic disaster in the Lag B’Omer celebrations in Mount Meron last night, and wish a swift recovery to those injured," turkey has said in a statement.

Susanne Wasum-Rainer, Germany's ambassador to Israel, has also expressed her solidary. "Waking up to the shocking news of the tragedy of Lag Ba'Omer festivities. While the situation still seems to be evolving, I am heartbroken about reports of multiple casualties and suffering."

"I am deeply sadden by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred tonight. My thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families who have lost a loved one in Lag Ba'Omer celebration," she added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed his sorrow over the disaster. "Terrifying news from Mount Meron, Israel. Deeply saddened by the loss of life caused by a tragic crush at a religious gathering. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Ukraine stands by Israel at this dark hour."

"Deeply saddened at the tragedy in Israel at Mount Meron during the celebrations of Lag Ba'omer. Extend my condolences and wish the injured a speedy recovery," India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.

The European Union also offered its deepest condolences "to families and friends of the victims and to the people of Israel and extends its wishes for a quick recovery to those hurt."

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