Two’s company, three’s a crowd, and 300,000 is just another Passover at Israel’s national parks.
Hundreds of thousands of people, hoping to make the most of the Passover holiday break, flooded into Israel’s national parks on Thursday, forcing some sites to turn visitors back for a second straight day because of overcrowding.
Water attractions were particularly popular and by midday the public was asked to stop traveling to the Ein Gedi nature reserve, because it was jam-packed.
Located near the Dead Sea, the Ein Gedi reserve is popular for its various hiking trails, streams, and water pools.
On Wednesday, authorities had to turn people away from the Sea of Galilee after over 50,000 people tried to crowd beaches along the lake.
In Jerusalem, thousands of worshipers packed into the Western Wall plaza Thursday morning for the traditional priestly blessing ceremony that is held every Passover and Sukkot festival. The Magen David Adom reported that some 30 people required medical assistance as a result of the heat and of dehydration.
Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL), the Israeli wing of the Jewish National Fund, also reported that tens of thousands of visitors turned out to enjoy walks through its forests.
Thursday was the second day of Hol Hamo’ed, the intermediary days of the week-long Passover festival. With schools and many businesses closed, much of the population took advantage of the warm weather and headed out to enjoy nature sites.
On Wednesday, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said that 300,000 people had visited its more than 250 parks and nature reserve sites across the country. Three people were rescued after losing their way or suffering from dehydration.
Large traffic jams of tourists were reported on both days, especially in the north of the country.