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Israelis throng national parks and nature reserves on 1st day of Passover

1,000 celebrate Passover Seder in nature reserve parking lots; sites from north to south fill up with hikers as Israelis enjoy the cool weather

Hikers near the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Illustrative: Hikers near the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Around 130,000 Israelis took advantage of the warm weather and Passover holiday on Sunday and visited the country’s nature reserves and national parks.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said that approximately 1,000 people chose to celebrate the Seder on Saturday night in the parking lots of the nature reserves, which were kept open overnight, presumably taking advantage of the open spaces to hold larger celebrations under virus restrictions.

On Sunday morning tens of thousands of Israelis hit the hiking trails and sites around the country to enjoy the cooler-than-average spring temperatures.

Popular locations included the Tel Afek park, Nahal Tavor and Nahal Kaziv, with the parks authority asking the public to avoid those sites due to congestion.

Additionally, thousands of people visited the beaches of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.

A couple walk on a salt island formed on the Dead Sea in the Israeli resort town of Ein Bokek on March 27, 2021. (Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

“On the eve of the holiday and during the morning of the first [Passover] holiday, many hikers came to the reserves and parks to enjoy our beautiful nature and heritage sites, said INPA’s Raya Sorki, adding that cultural events would take place in the parks in the coming days.

Last year Israelis were largely confined to their homes for the Passover holiday due to strict regulations aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic. However, Israel’s rapid vaccine rollout has led to a relaxing of restrictions in recent weeks.

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