Israel buries the victims of a festival stampede

A flood of late-night prayers in Jerusalem, as funerals were held Saturday for the victims of a massive stampede - one of the worst civilian disasters in Israel's history.

An ultra-orthodox Jewish festival was held on the slopes of Mount Meron, overnight between Thursday and Friday.

But celebration turned to sorrow after the stampede at the overcrowded festival left at least 45 dead and more than a hundred injured.

The U.S. embassy there said that American citizens were among the dozens killed or injured.

Canada reported two of their citizens had also died.

The exact cause of the disaster is still unclear.

Videos posted on social media suggested people had fallen down stairs, and were trampled and asphyxiated when a surge of people came down upon them.

The government now faces backlash for allowing the event to go ahead, despite its size far exceeding gathering restrictions during the global health crisis.

That's on top of years of concerns over the safety risks of the annual event.

An estimated 100,000 packed the festival this year.

On Saturday, protesters gathered outside the Public Security Minister's home in Tel Aviv.

They spelled the word 'shame' with lit candles.

"People are losing their lives, and losing family and losing loved ones, without doing anything. This government is a criminal mistake and it needs to go."

Some critics however, said politicians had given in to pressures of ultra-Orthodox leaders.

Those leaders are presently allied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but have also openly disregarded the state's authority for years.