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Israeli opposition leader doubtful government will establish a Commission of Inquiry for Oct. 7

Head of opposition and head of the Yesh Atid party Knesset Member Yair Lapid gives a statement to the media on the Meron disaster report at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2024. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Thursday was asked in an interview on KAN Reshet Bet about the recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry that the police commissioner [Kobi Shabtai] should resign due to the 2021 Mount Meron disaster.

Lapid said: “I worked with Kobi, he is a good man but he needs to resign. After such a disaster happens on your watch you cannot stay in office. Anyone who has personal responsibility recommendations about them cannot stay in their positions. He is not a bad person, but when something happens on your watch you are responsible."

On the subject of the correct timing for the replacement of the police commissioner, Lapid said: "I would wait until after Ramadan with the replacement of the police commissioner. The fear is that Ben Gvir will appoint the police commissioner of the Israel Police. Whoever appointed him as minister of National Security knew that he was appointing a person who was convicted of terrorism and did not serve in the IDF. The appointment of the police commissioner is just a consequence of that."

After publishing the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry regarding the Mount Meron disaster, the Likud party issued a statement to the media on Wednesday night that was criticized by some members of the coalition, as well. In response, the leader of the opposition said: "It's tragic, think of someone who lost a child in the Meron disaster. People died; is this your reaction? The members of the commission were appointed by the president of the Supreme Court and they know it. The members of the commission were not appointed by the government."

Lapid was asked if he thought the government would set up a state Commission of Inquiry into the Oct. 7 disaster and answered: "I doubt it. On Netanyahu's watch, the greatest civil disaster in the history of the country and the greatest disaster for the Jewish people since the Holocaust happened on Oct. 7. You can also add the Carmel disaster. There was neither accountability nor the drawing of conclusions in any of these cases. They were only running away from responsibility, blaming others, evasion and conspiracy theories."

The head of the opposition also said: "I am busy dealing with the next disaster; how the State of Israel can prevent the next disaster with such a corrupt and irresponsible political culture? We need a major Israeli reform and that will not happen with these people."

Ilil Shahar is a correspondent for KAN 11 news.

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