In the second freak accident at an ultra-Jewish gathering in Israel in less than two weeks, a bleacher collapse at a synagogue killed two worshippers and injured more than 100 injured on Sunday.
The accident happened at an under construction synagogue in a Jewish settlement in Givat Zeev, north of Jerusalem. The area is in the occupied West Bank. Video footage online showed the bleachers at the makeshift shamiana collapsing and people screaming in horror.
The accident in Givat Zeev, just north of Jerusalem, raised more questions about safety measures at large ultra-Orthodox events, two weeks after 45 pilgrims were crushed to death in a stampede at the burial site of a Jewish sage in northern Israel.
Israeli police said as many as 650 worshippers had gathered in the grandstand when it collapsed. The faithful had gathered to mark the start of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
Israeli ambulance service said rescue workers transported the injured people to hospitals. Most of the injured sustained mild injuries. While one of the dead was a 40-year-old man, the other victim was a 12-year-old child.
Organizers Defied Warnings
The religious event of the ultra-orthodox Jews was held in a partially constructed synagogue. It has been reported that the event was held without the required passes and permits.
Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman said the accident was a case of negligence. He suggested that the people responsible would be arrested.
The local mayor had apparently warned that the building zone was unsafe but the gathering was organized nonetheless.
"We were called again to another event where there was negligence and a lack of responsibility. There will be arrests," Jerusalem District police chief Turgeman said, according to Reuters.
What is Shavuot?
Shavuot is a Jewish festival that is celebrated seven weeks after the Passover festival. In Israeli traditions, the festival commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Torah to the Israelis in Sinai. The festival is also known as Pentecost due to its timing after Passover, In Greek, 'pentecost' means 'fifty'. Shavuot is marked fifty days after the first day of the Passover.