Two Convicted Over Deadly 2012 Independence Day Disaster

IDF soldier Hila Betzaleli was killed and six people injured when a lightning rig collapsed during a rehearsal for the ceremony at Mt. Herzl.

The 2012 rig collapse at Mt. Herzl.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court convicted two executives of the Itzuv Bama company on Wednesday of causing death by negligence for the collapse of a lighting rig during an Independence Day ceremony rehearsal four years ago that killed a soldier and injured six others.

The two, vice president of operations Elad Lavi and operations manager Taimuraz Laonidzeh, were also convicted of causing injury by negligence.

The conviction was reached as part of a plea agreement under which charges were dropped against the company’s CEO, Doron Lavi. The agreement calls for the two to serve six to seven months in prison and to pay compensation that will be determined at a later date. The company itself will also admit to causing death and injury by negligence.

The accident, which occurred a few days before Independence Day in 2012, killed 1st Lt. Hila Betzaleli, 20, of Mevasseret Zion, as she and other soldiers were rehearsing for the official ceremony at the main parade ground on Mt. Herzl. The lighting rig, which was held up by four columns, each 15 meters high, came down when one collapsed due to strong winds, bringing the other columns down as well.