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News

2 NJ Natives Among 45 Dead In Israel's Mt. Meron Stampede

An IDF soldier assists those affected by the mass casualty incident on the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer at Mt. Meron, in which 45 people were killed.
An IDF soldier assists those affected by the mass casualty incident on the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer at Mt. Meron, in which 45 people were killed. Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Two New Jersey residents were among 45 people killed Thursday night when a stampede broke out during a bonfire celebrating a religious holiday.

Nachman Doniel Morris, 19, of Teaneck, New Jersey, and Elazar Yitzchak (Azi) Koltai,13, formerly of Passaic, were pronounced dead, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Morris, Koltai and nearly 90,000 other individuals -- mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews -- had gathered at the tomb of a 2nd century sage rabbi for annual Lag'Ba'omer commemorations when the stampede broke out near a bonfire of Toldot Aharon (a hassidic sect based in Jerusalem), The Post said.

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called the mass casualty "one of the heaviest disasters that commanded the State of Israel."

The State of Israel declared a national day of mourning on Sunday, May 2, 2021. 

Of the 45 people killed, five were under the age of 16, 32 have been identified and 22 were released for burial.

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