Daily Israel Report

Thousands on Their Way to Meron for Lag Ba'omer

The annual festivities at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the north are ready to kick off, as police and medics prepare.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 5/17/2014, 8:47 PM

Lag Ba'omer bonfire
Lag Ba'omer bonfire
Flash 90

Thousands of Jews on Saturday night are on their way to Meron, located in the north of Israel, for the lighting ceremony that will take place near the grave of the famous sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rasbhi).

Saturday night marks the beginning of Lag Ba'omer, the thirty-third day in the traditional counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot. The day is also the anniversary of Rashbi's passing, and is commemorated annually at his Meron grave, not far from Tzfat.

Arutz Sheva will be covering the festivities exclusively via a live feed.

Lag Ba'omer also traditionally marks either the end of, or a respite in, the plague that befell the students of Rabbi Akiva, who according to tradition took part in the Bar Kochkba Revolt against the Roman occupation nearly 2,000 years ago.

Magen David Adom (MDA) is preparing to provide medical services for the tens of thousands who annually arrive in Meron for Lag Ba'omer. MDA has already released their safety guidelines for the festive bonfires that are a tradition of the celebrations.

The festivities are to continue for three days, given that the Chief Rabbi asked to postpone the celebrations from Saturday night to Sunday night in order to prevent a desecration of Shabbat. Saturday night will be celebrated by many in any case, leading to the extended festivities, and the heightened level of readiness on the part of MDA, who have stations on site to prevent Shabbat desecration.

On Mount Meron, MDA will have a special control center operating, in addition to two clinics in the area.

Those medical services have already been put to good use, as MDA crews report that over the Shabbat they treated 59 participants in the celebrations who had already gathered at Meron. Of those, four need continued treatment and were transferred to Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.

MDA raised the preparedness level in the north to "level C," which is the highest on its index. Hundreds of medics, paramedics and doctors will be in the area to ensure the health of all those enjoying Lag Ba'omer.

The national traffic police likewise have their work cut out for them. The northern branch of the division, with the aid of reinforcements, will monitor traffic and manage the flow of cars on inter-city roads leading to Meron.

Parking will be provided by the police in lots both close and relatively farther from the site. Additionally, police will monitor the safety of pedestrians making their way by foot from the lots to the site, and will generally keep the order amid the tens of thousands of participants.