Israelis crowd beaches, parks on Shavuot holiday
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Israelis crowd beaches, parks on Shavuot holiday

Tens of thousands flock to coast; two Sea of Galilee beaches closed due to overcrowding

Israelis try to enjoy the crowded beaches of the Sea of Galilee during the Passover holiday on April 26, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israelis try to enjoy the crowded beaches of the Sea of Galilee during the Passover holiday on April 26, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israelis flocked to beaches and national parks in large numbers on Wednesday to celebrate the Shavuot holiday.

Thousands crowded the beaches along the coast, particularly the popular Achziv beach near Nahariya in northern Israel.

Some 20,000 vacationers streamed onto 15 beaches on the Sea of Galilee, with the Zeelon and Gofra beaches closing to visitors due to overcrowding, the former on Tuesday night.

The Kinneret Authority, which manages the sites, urged beach-goers to stay close to lifeguard huts and extended the lifeguard services until 6pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Walla news site reported.

During the Passover holiday in April, three people drowned in the Sea of Galilee after strong winds carried them away from the shore.

The Shavuot holiday, known in English as the Feast of Weeks, was originally an agricultural festival to celebrate the wheat harvest and ripening of fruits. It later became associated with God’s giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Israelis enjoy the Sea of Galilee. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Israelis enjoy the Sea of Galilee. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

During the festival, many celebrants throw water over each other to symbolize the trust Jews put in God to provide them with water now that the rains have stopped until the winter.

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