Fines, checkpoints and arrests on road to Meron

2,000 police officers deployed to prevent mass Lag B'Omer gathering at Meron amid coronavirus concerns. Only 3 bonfires to be allowed.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Meron (archive)
Meron (archive)
צילום: אלישמע סנדמן - מוסדות אור הרשב"י

Deputy Shalom Avitan, Commander of the Kinneret District in the Northern District of the Police, is to lead and command the operation of Lag B'Omer events in Meron, an event that this year will be held with the presence of no more than 150 participants at only three bonfires.

In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Avitan told about the preparations: "This year, unlike previous years, the mission is related to curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Our first mission is to protect public health, compared to previous years when the mission was to secure, direct traffic and maintain public order, to allow half a million Israelis to reach the mountain and celebrate. This year the mission will be to allow only three bonfires."

"Each lighting will be limited to only 50 people. In total, only 150 participants will be allowed. We enforce government decisions on the number of people and the number of bonfires. The main goal is the prevention of the spread of the disease among those celebrating."

Avitan said about 2,000 police officers from the Northern District, the Traffic Division and the Border Patrol will participate over the course of the operation.

"We hope and believe that the public will obey the guidelines, but in any case, there will be police presence throughout the country. Police will also inspect vehicles dozens of kilometers from Meron, and will firmly prevent any arrival to the mount, except from those who live in the area and authorized to cross. There is a circle that cannot be crossed on foot either."

Avitan added: "We have enforcement measures - from fines to forcible detention. We sincerely hope that we will not have to use these powers, but we are prepared for that as well."

"We are conducting enforcement on the roads, in the forests, Moshav Meron, and throughout the region and have been carrying out enforcement since last Thursday on the owners of the cottages who are forbidden to rent to anyone who is not a resident of the area. Anyone who plans to make cat and mouse games with the police officers should be aware that this is not recommended. We will show zero tolerance for violations."