Police to allow mass religious festival despite Omicron, memories of Meron disaster

Police will apparently allow thousands of people to participate in an annual religious celebration despite fears of mass infections amid the Omicron outbreak, as well as fears for safety at the event months after a deadly disaster at another festival, Hebrew media reports.

The details of a deal with organizers are being finalized, but will apparently see the government okay a budget of hundreds of thousands of shekels to secure the event next Thursday.

Yesterday police had issued an injunction prohibiting the annual mass memorial gathering at the grave of a revered kabbalist in the southern town of Netivot.

Jewish worshippers pray at the gravesite of the Baba Sali during the annual pilgrimage held in his memory in the southern Israeli town of Netivot on January 30, 2017. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)

The injunction said police would not be able to ensure safety protocols at the memorial event for Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as Baba Sali, which traditionally attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims.

Baba Sali is considered a man of miracles by many Jews around the world. His followers include a wide range of Jews from all sorts of religious backgrounds. His grave is one of Israel’s most visited Jewish holy sites.

The event is the first mass religious event since April’s disaster at Mount Meron, when 45 people were killed in a crush due to inadequate infrastructure and security.

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