Briton killed in Israel stampede a ‘wonderful’ husband, son and brother – family

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Tributes have been paid to a “modest and unassuming” 22-year-old British man killed in a stampede at a Jewish festival in Israel.

Moshe Bergman, from Salford, Greater Manchester, was one of 45 people who died in the disaster at Mount Meron on Friday, a family spokesman said.

He was studying to become a Rabbi in Israel, where he lived with his wife who he married around 18 months ago.

In a statement released on the family’s behalf, Rabbi Arnold Saunders said Mr Bergman was a “wonderful and dedicated husband, son and brother”.

People gather around candles during a vigil in Tel Aviv in memory of the 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews killed in the stampede
People gather around candles during a vigil in Tel Aviv in memory of the 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews killed in the stampede (Oded Balilty/AP)

“Nothing was too much trouble for him. He was modest and unassuming, studious and hard-working.

“He had a great future ahead of him but alas the almighty had other ideas which we accept without question or bitterness – despite our grief and pain.”

The crush took place at the Lag BaOmer religious festival, which was attended by nearly 100,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel.

It occurred as thousands of people funnelled through a narrow passageway descending the mountain early on Friday.

People then reportedly fell on top of each other near a walkway after going down metal stairs.

Some 45 people were killed and 150 were injured in what has been described as Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster.

The festival went ahead despite national coronavirus restrictions preventing gatherings of more than 500 people outdoors.

Mr Bergman’s family did not wish to “apportion blame” for what they described as a “tragic accident”, said Mr Saunders who represents Kersal on Salford City Council.

“Of course lessons must be learnt so that no family will have to suffer a similar tragedy in the future,” he said.

“We call upon the community both locally and in Israel to come together in a spirit of unity and reflection.”

The site is believed to be the burial place of prominent second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

The country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has promised an inquiry will take place into the tragedy, after calling it “one of the worst disasters that has befallen the state of Israel”.

However, while visiting the area, Mr Netanyahu was jeered by dozens of ultra-Orthodox protesters who blamed the government and police for the incident.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a British man who sadly died at the Mount Meron stampede.”

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