Rocket alarms fail to deter thousands of vacationers near Sea of Galilee

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

The Cohen family of Ashkelon watch the sunset on the Sea of Galilea's Gofra Beach on June 12, 2024. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)
The Cohen family of Ashkelon watch the sunset on the Sea of Galilea's Gofra Beach on June 12, 2024. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

As the sun sets on the Sea of Galilee, Kobi Cohen prepares dinner for his two daughters and other relatives who are sitting on camping chairs on the water’s edge.

The Cohens are preparing for their third night on Gofra Beach on the eastern shores of the lake in northern Israel, along with thousands of families who are undeterred by the apparent targeting of lakeside locales by rockets from Lebanon for the first time in months.

“We’re from Ashkelon and my reserves service is in the Upper Galilee so we’re not so easily rattled,” Cohen, 39, tells The Times of Israel near the end of Shavuot, the first major holiday of summer, during which the lake’s resorts are usually at capacity.

Several vacationers say that some popular beaches appear to have many tourists despite the rocket alarms. However, the situation is keeping away some campers, therefore preventing the more crowded conditions that often occur here on Shavuot.

Tiberias is among the places where sirens warning of inbound rockets wailed on Wednesday following a barrage of more than 160 rockets fired from Lebanon. This uptick in rocket fire deep into Israel follows the slaying of a Hezbollah senior-ranking terrorist, Taleb Sami Abdallah, and three others in an Israeli-targeted strike in Lebanon.

“We’re not worried and not breaking routine,” Doron Bichler, the CEO of the Eden lakeside vacation village, tells Ynet. “We heard the booms and see the interceptions and that’s it,” he adds.

The Kinneret Authority, which represents multiple local communities, says it is not issuing any new security rules or directives.

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