Meron on Lag Ba'omer
Meron on Lag Ba'omer Uzi Baruch

Residents of the northern village of Meron, where the tomb of Zohar author Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is located, have appealed to the government to cancel the prohibition on renting out their homes and vacation apartments during Lag Ba'omer and the surrounding days.

Lag Ba'omer is the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's passing.

Meron residents have hired two attorneys to represent them, and plan to appeal to the Supreme Court if the government does not accede to their request.

Many residents of Meron make a living by renting out accommodations to visitors, usually providing only very basic amenities and excluding meals. Year-round rents average around NIS 100 per bed ($29), in cottages of around three to four rooms with around four beds per room. However, on Lag Ba'omer rent prices usually rise astronomically, with hundreds of thousands of people arriving from across the country, as well as from overseas.

However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Israeli government has decided to prohibit all travel to Meron, with the prohibition having taken force on Thursday and lasting until next Wednesday, the day after Lag Ba'omer.

In addition to banning travel to the area, the government has also suspended all public transport in the Meron region for the coming week. Special bus lines will be operating to serve residents of the region.

From Sunday through Wednesday, no travel to Meron will be permitted, and police will be setting up roadblocks on all the roads leading to Meron. A local resident wishing to travel on one of the special bus lines will have to produce valid ID showing his place of residence before boarding.

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