Every year in Israel, tens of thousands of worshippers flock to Mount Meron to celebrate Lag B’omer. Unfortunately this year, a massive stampede at the end of the celebration left 45 people dead and more than 150 injured. Israel Ankawa is among the victims. He was 24 years old, and the father of 2 boys (ages 1 ½ years and 4 months).
According to his friend Israel could have extricated itself, but he chose to help instead. He saw children trapped and he picked them up, put them on his shoulders, and got them out to safety. Sadly, he was unable to get out himself and he was crushed under the pressure from the crowd. When our rescuers finally reached him, they did their utmost to resuscitate him, but they were not successful.
Israel was the grandson of the Kabbalist Rabbi Raphael Ankawa. He was a man with a beaming smile, who had a big heart for those around him and for everyone in need.
We have decided to support Israel’s widow and 2 children because Israel showed boundless courage, not hesitating to save lives by sacrificing his own.
Witnesses estimate that Israel saved 3-4 children.