Thousands still struggling to get home after Meron disaster

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

Thousands of people are struggling to get home following the stampede at Mount Meron, with some still stranded on the mountain and others flocking to nearby transportation terminals.

Police have set up dozens of roadblocks around the area, in an effort to direct traffic, but the sheer numbers of people and vehicles is causing traffic jams and backups around Mount Meron and the nearby city of Safed.

The winding, single-lane highways surrounding Mount Meron in northern Israel are dotted with groups of religious Jews, carrying suitcases and plastic bags, as they make their way on foot toward home before Shabbat begins on Friday evening.

Though a massive bussing operation is underway from Mount Meron itself, the narrow roads leading to the site and general confusion have created a major bottleneck, leaving men, women and children stranded.

A photo taken on April 30, 2021 shows a crowded street in the northern Israeli town of Meron near the scene of an overnight stampede which took place during a religious gathering near the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, where mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews flock to mark the Lag B’Omer holiday. (Jack Guez / AFP)

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