State Comptroller Yosef Shapira was right to stick to his guns and demand that Tuesday's meeting of the committee investigating the 2010 Carmel fire meet in the Knesset, and not in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The media was right to demand that the bereaved families — 44 people cast in the image of a modern Job of Uz, who suffered tremendously due to a bet between God and Satan in the Bible — should be allowed to enter the room, participate in the discussion and vent their bitterness. Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz were also right to absorb the criticism with restraint, even though they thought it misdirected, taking an example from Job: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10).
For truly, they are like Job: "A fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them." (Job 1:16). But since the fire destroyed much of the mountain, the bereaved families have acted towards the establishment as if they are the plaintiffs in a case that piles on more and more guilt, at all costs. Netanyahu, Steinitz and Interior Minister Eli Yishai are being used largely as psychologists for the inconsolable, which seems to justify their sense that not enough effort has been made in the investigation. But experts on bereavement need to come to Uz and explain to the bereaved that they will never feel that justice was truly served, nor will they ever be satisfied.
This is because a terrible injustice had, in fact, fallen on them: their loved ones were taken away from them in an instant. They will always feel like they want to blame someone. Sometimes they blame themselves, but more often they blame their surroundings: God, their leaders, the commander on the scene, the doctor, anyone who comes along with some connection to the event, even if only by chance.
One thing you can't say about the report compiled by former State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss into the Carmel fire, is that it did not try to find someone to blame. Senior public figures believe that he was looking too closely in the wrong places. Many others believe that his work was thorough and appropriate and one couldn't ask for more.
This does not mean that the bereaved families' desire to dismiss this person or prosecute that person is unfounded. Every civilized society needs justice, even more than the bereaved do. But someone has to take on the role of the responsible adult and tell them that the assumption that if justice is served they will be satisfied is patently false. They will never feel better unless they decide to pull themselves together and live with the tragedy and the pain, and, yes, even with the sense of injustice. The bereaved families must move on and diminish their involvement in the investigation into the fire, even though their connection with their loved ones will never diminish.
This is not for the benefit of Netanyahu, Steinitz or Yishai, nor for the police or the firefighters, but rather for their own good. It is also in honor of their loved ones; the family and friends who are still alive deserve to return to their normal lives. It is not a betrayal of the victims' memory. In order to help retired police Maj. Gen. Zeev Even-Chen, whose daughter Topaz Even-Chen Klein died in the Carmel fire, I say: Please, understand that no one is dealing with your loved one as they would a cockroach. When you finally understand this, you will feel some relief. Healing will come through understanding, not through punishing one person or another.