IDF mulls canceling annual Meron holiday festivities amid war

Officials say securing tens of thousands in the area close to the Lebanon border amid tensions and missile fire is an impossible mission while war rages

The IDF Home Front Command will hold urgent discussions in the coming days regarding the approval of the annual Lag BaOmer celebration in Mout Meron planned to take place in May, while the cross-border exchanges of fire with Hezbollah continue as well as the war in Gaza.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
Due to tight timelines and pressing preparations, the IDF is expected to recommend making a tentative decision on the matter by mid-March, in order to advance preparations for any future plan subject to the risks associated with the event’s location approximately 10 km from the Israel-Lebanon border.
2 View gallery
הילולת ל"ג בעומר במירון
הילולת ל"ג בעומר במירון
Lag BaOmer celebration on Mount Meron
(Photo: AFP)
Security officials are aware of the political pressures that may come from ultra-Orthodox circles to hold the event, even in a scaled-down format. There is concern, however, that in such a scenario thousands of worshippers will arrive at the site, which has been the target of dozens of advanced anti-tank missiles and rockets in recent months. Some of the launches directly hit the aerial defense base located at the top of the mountain.
Security officials estimate that even if an arrangement is reached with Hezbollah or a cease-fire with Hamas is achieved as part of a hostage release deal, which could bring a temporary calm at the northern border as the previous deal had, it’d be impossible to ensure the safety of thousands of people on the mountain, especially if rocket are fired.
The use of hundreds of IDF soldiers and police officers to secure the event during a tense period and the Galilee region will also be a consideration for the final decision. Security officials point out that even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many worshippers arrived at the mountain to celebrate the festival against guidelines.
2 View gallery
ריקודים סביב האש
ריקודים סביב האש
Celebrations on Mount Meron
(Photo: Nachum Segal)
An option that would be considered, in case a decision is made to cancel the traditional celebration, is to issue a military closure order for the mountain area to enforce the ban on the arrival of worshippers.
The Home Front Command is considering whether to hold a much smaller event on Mount Meron on March 17, to mark the birth and passing of Moses, an event which usually includes the gathering of several thousand believers — seeing as the current guidelines allow for such an event to be held.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.