Synagogue Bleacher Collapses in Israel, Killing 2, Paramedics Say

JERUSALEM – Israeli medics say two people are dead and more than 150 injured in a bleacher collapse at a West Bank synagogue.

The bleacher was packed with ultra-Orthodox worshippers and collapsed during prayers at the beginning of a major Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

A spokesman for Magen David Adom told Channel 13 that paramedics had treated more than 157 people for injuries and pronounced two dead, a man in his 50s and a 12-year-old boy.

Rescue workers are on the scene, treating the injured and taking people to the hospital. The collapse comes weeks after 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews were killed in a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it dispatched medics and other search and rescue troops to assist at the scene. Army helicopters were airlifting the injured.

Deddi Simhi, head of the Israel Fire and Rescue service, told Israel’s Channel 12 that “this building is not finished. It doesn’t even have a permit for occupancy … let alone holding events in it.”

The accident comes weeks after a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel that killed 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The stampede triggered renewed criticism over the broad autonomy granted to the country’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority.

Last year, many ultra-Orthodox communities flouted coronavirus safety restrictions, contributing to high outbreak rates in their communities and angering the broader secular public.


Source: Voice of America

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