Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services has banned private bonfires due to the unseasonably warm and dry temperatures expected this week, with temperatures peaking on Thursday and Friday.
Bonfires will be allowed in cities and towns only in designated areas approved by the fire authorities and at Meron. The ban goes into effect on Tuesday at 8 a.m. and ends on Sunday at 8 p.m.
“Bonfires will not be permitted due to extreme weather conditions that raise the risk for wildfires and damage to both people and property,” Fire and Rescue Services stated.
This will be the second heatwave to hit Israel this spring.
There will be no restrictions on the number of people allowed at Har Meron this year on Lag B’Omer. According to Health Ministry regulations, only those with green passports are allowed into the areas of the hilulos and only up to 3,000 participants will be allowed at each hadlaka area, with up to 10,000 people allowed in the entire area of the hadlakos.
The police have stated that they will not have the manpower to enforce green passports at Meron but they will make efforts to enforce the limit of up to 10,000 people at the hadlaka area, which may involve temporarily banning buses from approaching the Har.
Also, the number of hadlakos will be decreased to 13 from the usual 21, and each hadlaka will last an hour and a half rather than the usual three hours – due to the time restraints resulting from the fact that Lag B’Omer is on erev Shabbos and the large number of people expected to come this year.
The entire area of Har Meron will be accessible to everybody but the enclosed area of the kever will be managed by the police, with people only being allowed to walk by but not loiter, allowing a continuous flow of foot traffic.
Israel Police are engaging in extensive preparations for the day and about 5,000 police officers will be deployed to the area on Lag B’Omer.
“The hilulos Rashbi at Meron of 2021 will be very challenging,” said Northern District police commander Shimon Lavie at a press briefing earlier this week. “Last year, the public couldn’t visit Meron so this year the Jewish public has a great desire to participate in the hilula. The weather is supposed to be very hot. I turn to the public to ensure that those who are ill, the elderly, and small children do not come to Meron.”
Lavie added that “mask-wearing will only be enforced inside the kever compound and is not required outside in the open area.”
“We will do all we can so that the hilulos Rashbi will be fully celebrated,” Lavie concluded.
A special Hachnosas Orchim Lag Baomer campaign has been set up. There are stories of miraculous salvations attributed to the Segula of distributing Chai Rotel, food or drink, to those visiting the Kever of Reb Shimon Bar Yochai in Miron on Lag Baomer. Click here to participate.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)