In years gone by, preparations for Lag b'Omer started early
In years gone by, preparations for Lag b'Omer started earlyCourtesy of the photographer

For the first time in around a decade, the Religious-Zionist community will not be holding its own bonfire-lighting event in Meron on Lag b'Omer, which falls on Wednesday night and Thursday of next week.

In recent years, the custom developed of holding a separate bonfire-lighting ceremony in the Bnei Akiva plaza in honor of the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, with the participation of Religious-Zionist rabbis such as Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and Rabbi David Dudkevich.

Following the terrible tragedy that occurred last year, it was decided that this year, only one bonfire would be lit at the site, organized by the Boyan Hassidic group. According to long-standing tradition dating back over a hundred years, the Admor of Boyan is the one to light the main bonfire at Meron and during years when multiple bonfires were lit, the Admor of Boyan was always the first to light.

Meanwhile, due to pressure from MK Meir Porush, who represents the "Shlomei Emunim" faction of Agudat Yisrael (part of the UTJ party), the Karlin-Stolin Hassidic group will be permitted to hold a "tish" in the Bnei Akiva plaza, despite the general agreement that only one bonfire-lighting event will be allowed.

As of this writing, even though Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana is from the Religious-Zionist community, negotiations between the community and the government with the objective of holding a bonfire-lighting event have reportedly reached a dead-end.