The Meron disaster last year
The Meron disaster last yearDavid CohenFlash90

Preparations for the Lag Ba'omer holiday on Mount Meron are underway, and not everyone will be allowed to visit the site during the holiday.

Last year, 45 people were crushed to death in a stampede during the Lag Ba'omer event at the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) on Mount Meron. Since then, Israeli authorities have been taking steps to ensure that such a tragedy will not recur.

Among the changes expected to take place is one which would require anyone visiting the site to present a travel ticket prior to entry. Another change is that there will be just one bonfire lighting, and there will be limits to the amount of time each person is permitted to spend at the site.

A campaign to be published in various written and digital media will emphasize the changes, and especially the fact that unlike in previous years, travel tickets must be purchased ahead of time and those arriving in private vehicles will be required to purchase tickets for the last portion of the drive, from the parking lot to the site. The travel ticket will serve as an entry ticket to the site itself.

The campaign will also emphasize that entry to Mount Meron will be only by shuttle.

Kiosks will not be allowed to be set up on the mountain itself, and food will be distributed at the entrance to the town, near the parking lots for the buses. Beverages will be distributed throughout the site.

In addition, on the evening following Lag Ba'omer, a memorial ceremony will be held honoring the 45 people who were killed last year. The event will include a "siyum" marking the completion of a tractate of Mishna, and will be only for the families.

The first campaign to be published, under the title of, "Rashbi for All," aims to emphasize that despite concerns stemming from last year's disaster, the site will be open to everyone this year, but in order to allow everyone to visit the site, pilgrims must act with mutual responsibility and consideration, and enter and exit the site at the appointed times.

The current campaign is the first of a series which will be published in various media ahead of Lag Ba'omer, and it aims to make all of the relevant information accessible.

In the coming days, a hotline will be opened, offering relevant information to those wishing to visit the site, as well as the option to purchase entry tickets.