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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


Rubinstein to Knesset Members: "For the first time, entry to Meron will be limited, this is a scandal!"

Meir Rubinstein, the mayor of Beitar Illit [1], sent an urgent letter to Haredi representatives on Tuesday, demanding an immediate cancellation of the decision to limit the number of tickets to Meron on Lag BaOmer [2].

"On behalf of tens of thousands – the residents of Beitar Ilit and the residents of the entire country – who wish to ascend to 'the Holy Site' of Meron on Lag Ba'Omer, on the anniversary of Rabbi Bar Yochai's death, I turn to you urgently," wrote the mayor. "According to the police and the Transportation Ministry, this year, the number of bus tickets sold to the public will be limited and because access by a private vehicle is prohibited – this means limiting the number of people permitted to visit Meron on Lag BaOmer."

"For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, the entrance to a holy place will be restricted on a sacred day, and the number of Jews permitted to participate in the 'Rashbi' (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) celebration will be limited. Such a situation is unthinkable! They would never dare to limit the number of participants in any other public religious, cultural or sport event."

"I am aware of the difficult parking and traffic issues, and the solution to these problems is not easy," he said adding that there is a need for serious and thorough preparation in advance. "Instead of waking up a few weeks before Lag Ba'Omer and solving the challenges by preventing the public from celebrating in Meron, we have to work throughout the year to build a permanent and orderly solution that will enable the celebration to be held without the need for a constant search for culprits at the end of the event."

In conclusion, he warned: "Restricting public transport to Meron will result in an uncontrolled arrival of large numbers of private vehicles, the creation of tremendous pressure on the roads, and the collapse of the entire system."

-Pictures, Behadrei Haredim

0202 Editor's Notes:
[1] Beitar Ilit is a Haredi town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
[2] Meron is a small town in northern Israel and the burial site of the Tamludic era (approx. 100 C.E.) sage Rabbi Shimon Bar (=son of) Yochai, also known as "Rashbi". One of the most famous and prominent sages in Judaism, he is considered to be the revealer of the mystic studies of Judaism, "Kabbalah". There is a custom of visiting his tomb on the Jewish holiday of "Lag Ba'omer" (lit. the 33rd day of the counting of the 'Omer'- the days between Passover and the 'Feast of Weeks' or Pentecost) which is accepted as the date of his death. In recent years, this custom has attracted a growing number of participants (from all sectors) reaching hundreds of thousands. This causes one of the largest transportation and logistical challenges throughout the year in Israel.

#Meron #Rashbi #Lag_BaOmer #Transportation