Canada 'A loss felt the world over': Montrealers among dead after stampede in Israel
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© Reuters - Amir Cohen in Israel, more than half of the population is now immune against coronavirus and life upset its quasi-normal course, Like, here, to Tel Aviv, April 18, 2021. Four months after the beginning of its Vovid-19 vaccination campaign, Israel reaches a form of collective immunity. The country remains on its launch and announces the signing of new agreements for the purchase of doses of additional vaccines. Report in the Laboratories of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Two Montrealers are among the dead after at least 45 participants were killed and more than 150 injured at a religious bonfire festival in Israel Friday.
Officials said it appears the dead had been asphyxiated or trampled in a stampede at the Lag B’Omer event in Mount Meron in the Galilee.
In a post on his Facebook page, David Levy, Israel’s consul-general for Montreal and eastern Canada, sent prayers to the family.
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“We are heartbroken by the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron, where a night of joy turned into a night of mourning,” Levy said in a Facebook post.
One of the Montreal victims was Dovi Steinmetz, 21, from the Darlington district in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The other was Outremont native Shraga Gestener, 35, a father of five who was living in Monsey, N.Y., according to the website. Gestetner was a Hassidic music composer and singer. His funeral was held at 3 p.m. Friday in Israel. Levy urged anyone who could to attend Gestetner’s funeral. Since many close family members could not attend, Levy said it was a good deed to attend the funeral.
Montreal city councillor and leader of the opposition Lionel Perez expressed his grief over the death of Steinmetz.
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This is the first time that a large international human rights NGO takes over the term "apartheid" in its account © Ahmad Gharabli / AFP the Israeli police to Jerusalem, April 23, 2021.
My family and I are devastated by the passing of Dovi Steinmetz z’l. Our hearts go out to Shloimie & Faigy for this agony. Dovi was outgoing, loved by all and a friend of our son Amram. We will be there to support you. Baruch Dayan HaEmet— Lionel Perez (@lionelperez)
In an interview, Perez said he is close with the Steinmetz family, and his son Amram Perez was his classmate and friend. The families live one street apart.
Steinmetz was studying post-secondary studies at Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
“He was a lovable, social individual, friends with everyone. Always looking to help and really in the image of his family,” Perez said. “It’s truly a great loss, not only for the family, but for the community and the neighbourhood. It’s very, very hard.
“It’s something that’s indescribable as a parent,” he said.
He said the family intends to travel to Israel after the Sabbath ends Saturday night.
Two Montrealers among dead after stampede at religious festival in Israel
MONTREAL — Two Montrealers taking part in a religious festival in Israel were among the dozens of people killed when a stampede erupted early Friday. Shraga Gestetner, 33, was a well-known singer in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and Dovi Steinmetz, 21, was in Israel for post-secondary religious studies. Multiple sources identified them Friday as being among the victims. Mayer Feig, a member of the Quebec Council of Hasidic Jews and a community activist, described Gestetner, who performed as Shragee Gestetner, as a "very, very giving person." He said he had left a successful music career to focus on helping vulnerable people in his community.
Perez added that Jews all around the world have been saddened by this incident.
“It’s a tragedy that not only hits Israel, but people from the Jewish community all around the world,” Perez said. “It shows the connection between the Jewish diaspora and Israel, and how it’s truly a loss that is felt the world over.”
Alex Werzberger, a spokesperson for Montreal’s Hassidic community, said Gestetner’s father and grandfather live in Outremont, and the whole community is shaken.
“It’s really, really incomprehensible,” he said. “It happened out of nowhere, and nobody was to blame.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante posted her condolences on her Twitter account, writing that her thoughts were with the city’s Jewish community.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also conveyed sympathies.
Nous apprenons avec tristesse le décès de deux Montréalais au mont Méron, en Israël.
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Nous sommes de tout cœur avec la communauté juive de Montréal. Nos pensées accompagnement les familles et les proches des victimes. Nos sincères sympathies à— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) .
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