Tens of thousands of Israelis flocked to Mount Meron in the Galilee Saturday night to celebrate the holiday of Lag B’Omer, in a gathering which marks the passing away of Kabbalist sage Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, who is buried at the site.
By Sunday morning upwards of 150,000 people are expected to attend the celebration.
Lag B’Omer is traditionally celebrated by lighting bonfires, symbolizing the light which supposedly radiated from the rabbi’s body while on his deathbed.
Large forces of police officers, firefighters and medical teams were dispersed throughout the site and roads to the area were set to be closed to prevent overcrowding at the site.
Nearly 70 people were evacuated from the site to the Ziv Hospital in nearby Safed to be treated to injuries suffered during the celebrations, according to Israel National News.
In light of the extremely dry and windy weather conditions and a number of fires that broke out around the country earlier Saturday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich raised the national alert level and reinforced firefighting crews at Meron and across the country.
From the evening hours on, hundreds of firefighters accompanied by dozens of fire trucks patrolled areas where bonfire lighting was taking place.
The firefighting services urged the public to practice caution.