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Bennett taps Kahana to oversee Lag B’Omer celebrations at Meron

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Northern District Police chief Shimon Lavi, left, and Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana, center, during a tour at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, in Meron, northern Israel, May 16, 2022, ahead of the Lag B'omer festival. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Northern District Police chief Shimon Lavi, left, and Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana, center, during a tour at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, in Meron, northern Israel, May 16, 2022, ahead of the Lag B'omer festival. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has formally appointed Matan Kahana to oversee Wednesday night’s Lag B’Omer celebrations on Mount Meron, Kahana’s office says.

Kahana had been given official responsibility for the event — following last year’s deadly disaster  in which 45 people were killed — in his capacity as religious services minister. However, he stepped down from his ministerial position on Friday in order to return to the Knesset in a political maneuver aimed at shoring up the government’s control in the parliament.

He has since been named deputy religious services minister and continues to lead the ministry in practice. In order to give him formal control over the Mount Meron event, Bennett signs a document allowing Kahana to act “in his name with anything that has to do” with the Lag B’Omer festivities.

Kahana visited the site yesterday and told reporters that the state is investing a great deal more funds this year “to ensure that the general population can come, enjoy and get home safely.”

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