Daily Israel Report

Lower Turnout Expected for Meron Lag Ba'omer Celebrations

Officials in Meron cite transportation restrictions as a factor; city already overcrowded several days before event.
By Benny Toker
First Publish: 5/16/2014, 4:01 PM

Bonfires in Meron (file)
Bonfires in Meron (file)
Flash90

Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, Chairman of the Administrative Board for Meron, estimated a lower number of attendees for this year's upcoming Lag Ba'omer celebration. 

"I'm concerned that the overall numbers will be lower," he said. "The police decided - and to some extent they were right to do this - to restrict travel for public transportation to the event, and there is currently a bus shortage." 

"The police are also limiting direct travel to Meron and some of the buses will go right to parking lots, which should affect attendance a great deal," he added. 

Thousands of people have already flooded into the northern community before Shabbat, ahead of Sunday night's Lag Ba'omer celebrations, Rabbi Halperin said.

Roads into the community were already closed by 7 a.m.; there has been so much overflow already that the Health Ministry and Fire Department have recorded incidents of families sleeping in improvised shelters to eke out the weekend. 

Rabbi Halperin believes, however, that most problems have been fixed since a review last year. 

"The government has invested a lot of money here to install a new sewer system," he said, "in cooperation with the Galilee Regional Council and the Israeli police." 

Saturday night's celebration will be broadcast live on Arutz Sheva