Father of Meron Victim Pleads for Help: ‘We are not second class citizens’

Rabbi Avigdor Hayut and his son Shmuel meet with Israeli police officer Rami Alwan who saved their lives during Mount Meron stampede last week, at their home in Bnei Brak, May 3, 2021. Photo by Flash90 *** Local Caption *** àáéâãåø çéåú ùîåàì äöéì çééí îéøåï àñåï ñåëú àáìéí áðé áø÷

ISRAEL (VINnews) — Rabbi Avigdor Chayut, whose son was tragically killed in Meron, is begging for government assistance.

In a heartfelt interview, Rabbi Chayut, filled with anguish and torment, said that just because he does not wear the same type of kippah as those in charge, he does not deserve to be treated like a second class citizen.

He said that the only two things the government has sent him are a death certificate (with no cause of death provided), and a letter saying that they’ve stopped paying child benefits for his son.

It’s been eight months since the Meron tragedy, yet the victims’ families have not received one penny in compensation.

Last week the Legislation Committee led by Justice Minister Gidon Saar rejected a proposal from MK Yaakov Asher to give those killed and injured in Meron equal status to those hurt in the collapse of the Versailles Wedding hall, claiming it required a broader consensus.

As of now it is not clear when the families will receive the assistance they desperately need and are entitled to.

Rabbi Chayut, who tragically lost a son, Yedidyah z”l, and who himself was injured (in addition to losing a talmid), told Kikar Shabbos that the government has not paid any attention to the families whose lives were damaged.

“The government is ignoring its citizens,” he said in anguish. “The committee’s interim conclusions said that ‘the [government] is sorry for the families’ grief,’ so I ask, ‘How?’

Rabbi Chayut continued, “There is no discussion of compensation. I do not believe anyone can compensate me, and I don’t need compensation. I’m only asking for the tools to cope.

Rabbi Chayut said that the Charedi parties have done virtually nothing. “Neither Shas nor UTJ have spoken with us about aid from the state. They sent us a nice letter, and nothing more.

“Practically speaking, since the disaster eight months ago, we have been dealing with the consequences alone – without assistance from the state.”

Rabbi Chayut then directed his words toward Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other government leaders, saying “We are being treated like second class citizens. I just want to be treated like an ordinary citizen. Just because I don’t vote for your party or wear a kippah like yours – does not make me a second-class citizen. We must work toward achdus…look me in the eyes, treat me as an equal.”

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