After much preparation and planning, the celebration for Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai kicked off on Monday with thousands attending from all across the country. Some 200,000 revelers who have already purchased tickets are expected to visit the mountain during Lag BaOmer.
After the 2021 tragic events, where 45 people died, and a failed layout from last year, a new outline was conceived to accommodate the many visitors to the upcoming event.
Back then, a stampede broke out after Midnight on Thursday at the Jewish religious gathering in the compound occupied by an ultra-Orthodox insular Hasidic movement Toldos Aharon.
Firefighters worked to free the trapped, supported by Israeli Air Force helicopters and rescue services. Police were trying to clear the tens of thousands who attended the event from the area.
A preliminary police investigation revealed that some of the attendees slipped on the stairs, creating a "human avalanche" that crushed members of the crowd. The 2021 disaster was marked as one of the heaviest on record.
The new outline includes new large complexes to improve safety. Every visitor is required to leave the area within five hours to make way for others waiting to climb the mountain. This is part of the effort to learn from past mistakes and create a safer environment for all attendees.
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Jewish Tradition, Meir Porush, issued a statement this evening, saying: "When we looked at the situation, we realized that it required a significant amount of attention. We invested tens of millions of shekels this year to implement the interim recommendations of the investigative committee.
"I sincerely hope that we will have a safe and successful event and that everyone will be able to return home safely."
Israeli police and Border police sent around 8,000 personnel to Mount Meron and its access roads, with additional equipment such as helicopters, drones, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles to maintain order and security.
National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, went to the command centers of the Israel Police and Fire and Rescue in Mount Meron to evaluate the situation. He was accompanied by the chairman of the National Security Committee, MK Zvika Fogel, and was briefed by Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai.
There are some ultra-Orthodox individuals who are against regulating the revelry and are attempting to cause chaos. One of them even confronted the family members of those who died in the Meron disaster and bit Israel Diskind, the brother of the late Simcha Bonim.
The police detained the attacker and removed him from the area. Minister Meir Parush denounced the attack as "inhumane."
The organizers of the event made significant changes this year, including the construction of a large stage for non-stop music and dancing, the provision of air-conditioned tents for prayer and study, and the allowance of food and drink distribution on the mountain, which had been banned for the previous two years.
In addition, a separate area was designated for the families of the Meron disaster victims.