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Cleveland Heights man among those killed in Israel stampede

Yossi Kohn and 44 others died during a Lag b’Omer festival.

MERON, Israel — A Cleveland Heights man is among the 45 people who were killed in a stampede at an Israeli religious festival early Friday morning.

Twenty-year-old Yossi Kohn died following during a Lag b’Omer gathering at Mount Meron. Attendees were walking through a narrow passageway before some began slipping and falling on wet stairs, causing chaos and panic that led to dozens being trampled.

It was Israel's first legal mass religious gathering since lifting most of its COVID-19 restrictions. Roughly 150 people out of the more than 100,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish participants were also injured.

Yossi Kohn was the son of Chaya Gitty Kohn, the seventh and eighth grade principal at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland's Beatrice Yavne High School in Beachwood. Rabbi Simcha Dessler, educational director at the academy, released the following statement to 3News:

"The Academy Family mourns the passing of Yossi Kohn who was among the victims of the horrific tragedy which occurred yesterday in Meron, Israel. Yossi was an incredible young man who endeared himself to all, was beloved by all, and will be remembered fondly by all.

"Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends during this most difficult time in their lives."

The incident is believed to be the deadliest civilian tragedy in Israel's history. U.S. President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer his condolences and offer "all necessary support" to those affected.

"The people of the United States and Israel are bound together by our families, our faiths, and our histories, and we will stand with our friends," Biden wrote. "Our prayers are with those who were injured and all those who lost loved ones. May their memories be a blessing."