Fearing pilgrims will flock to warzone, IDF declares Mount Meron closed military area ahead of Lag B’Omer

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Smoke rises after rockets fired from Lebanon hit an open area in Mount Meron, northern Israel, May 15, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Smoke rises after rockets fired from Lebanon hit an open area in Mount Meron, northern Israel, May 15, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The chief of the IDF Home Front Command has declared the Mount Meron area a closed zone amid Lag B’Omer celebrations, starting 11 p.m. tonight and until Monday, May 27, at noon.

Hezbollah has attacked Mount Meron, which is located some eight kilometers (5 miles) from the Lebanon border, repeatedly amid the ongoing war, launching large barrages of rockets at the mountain, as well as guided missiles at the Israeli air traffic control base that sits atop it.

Normally, tens of thousands of observant Jews visit the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on the mountain during Lag B’Omer.

Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, chief of the Home Front Command, signed the order to close off Mount Meron in coordination with relevant authorities at the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry as well as security officials.

The Home Front Command says that it “stresses that entering the Meron area is strictly prohibited” during this time.

Police have been asked to enforce the closed zone.

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