Head of Dan Police Takes Blame for Levayah Tragedy


rav-wosner-levaya1The head of the Dan police district, Commander Shimon Lavi, was in charge of security at the levaya Motzoei Shabbos of Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner zt”l. His team of 300 officers oversaw the security at the massive levaya attended by over 100,000 people.

Lavi, responding to questions about the petirah of Reb Mordechai Gerber, who perished amidst the crowd pressure, told Channel 2 that the onus is on him as the commander in charge. He explained that he did expect the levaya to be as difficult as it was to operate.

Lavi stated that he and his force had not forseen that there would be such pressure created by the crowd as the aron was escorted from Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin to the street.Lavi said that he doesn’t blame other people, adding that he takes responsibility for the tragedy and is “ready for an investigation.”

Lavi apologized that the levayah ended “in tragedy and with people being severely injured.” He said that this should not have happened, and that “anyone who comprehends the nature of the massive pressure of the crowds understands that having had additional police officers on hand would not have revented what occurred.”

{Matzav.com Israel}


  1. It’s professional for Shimon Lavi to take the responsibility. But it would be more appropriate for the roshei kehilla to perform introspection. Maybe 100,000 people shouldn’t try to attend a levaya in person. When the numbers are this large, for a (talmid) chacham like Rav Wosner ztz”l, regional “kibudei meis” that don’t place the tzibbur in sakanas nefashos would be more appropriate.

  2. #1 With a name like “Reality Check” you should at least try to be a bit realistic. Had it been during the day (not Motzei Shabbos) and not 2nd day Yom Tov when people from chutz la’ir (from out of Bnei Braq or walking distance to BB) and chutz le’aretz could have attended, there would have probably been three times the amount. If 300,000 people feel they must attend their Rav/father/mentor’s funeral no way in the world could you stop them. This was not a sport game where only certain amount is allowed.

  3. This happened on a staircase, likely indoors. Instead of telling people not to go to a levaya, there needs to be more control in crowded places, particularly staircases. There probably should not have been that many people in the building at the time the aron was being taken out.

    Crowded staircases are dangerous anywhere. Have you ever noticed that many large stadiums and other public areas turn off their escalators when there are large crowds exiting? As more people join the exit, it creates a large amount of pressure, similar to the stampede that occurred at the levaya. Unfortunately, they too have learned from “experience”.

  4. Part of planning something like this is putting up barricades and directing the crowd where to stand and to leave certain areas clear. If you have to include local volunteers you can get plenty.

    This “accepting the blame” while saying that more manpower wouldn’t have made a difference makes it sound like the common political “I take the blame but it’s not my fault.”

    Having said that, there clearly is a problem with pushing in many Kehillos in EY, and I sincerely hope that each Kehilla will address it now.