Ministers Approve Draft of Law to Regulate Lag BaOmer Events at Meron

By Hamodia Staff

Police officers tour in Meron, last Thursday, in preparation of Lag BaOmer. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

On Sunday, the government ministers were requested by the Cabinet Secretary to approve the draft of law for regulating the event of the celebration of Lag BaOmer in Meron, a month and a half before it is to take place, and to authorize the Ministerial Committee for Legislation to approve the final text of the bill. Concurrently, the government will request the Knesset committee to expedite the discussion of the bill.

In March, the State Investigation Committee on the Meron tragedy submitted its final report to the government. The draft law is designed to create the normative legislative infrastructure necessary for the implementation of previous decisions regarding this year’s celebrations. The bill is based on the recommendations of the investigation committee, particularly the interim recommendations, and on lessons learned from the implementation of the temporary ordinance over the last two years.

However, due to the proximity of the dates between the receipt of the final recommendations of the investigation committee and the date of the celebration, it was decided at this stage to advance the legislation within the framework of a temporary ordinance concerning the celebration in 2024, and later, there will be a need to examine the advancement of legislation as a permanent ordinance in this matter in accordance with the recommendations in the final report.

The draft includes several significant restrictions, intended to ensure the safe and proper conduct of the celebrations at Meron. Among other things, it is proposed to impose restrictions on staying at the Meron site during the day of Lag BaOmer, and to generally prohibit staying unless a suitable stay permit that includes its duration is granted. The proposal, in this context, states that the appointed minister will determine by decree the maximum number of people present in the Meron complex and in each of the complexes – the kever complex, the Bnei Akiva complex, and the 89 complex at any given moment during Lag BaOmer.

The proposal does not address the security situation. If there are security restrictions, chalilah, the celebrations could be canceled by a military order. Since the outbreak of the war, Hezbollah has already fired several times towards the Air Force base on Meron, and there have been reports of direct hits near the kever of the Rashbi.

To prevent multiple and uncontrolled ignition events, which create dangerous density and safety problems, the proposal states that during the celebration, a central hadlakah will be held in the complex of the kever, organized by whoever receives a permit from the ministers. Additionally, to ensure supervision over the number of approved events in Meron and to verify that they comply with safety conditions, it is proposed to impose a restriction on holding additional events beyond the central hadlakah event, unless the minister has granted a permit for holding an event, subject to the conditions of that permit.

The bill’s memorandum was distributed for public comments on April 4 for ten days. In total, five comments were received from the public, including from the Marom HaGalil Regional Council, within whose jurisdiction the kever complex is located. All comments were addressed and considered in the draft at the early stage of processing and coordination between government offices.

Given the importance and urgency of completing the legislative process, considering the timeline and the fact that Lag BaOmer is in just over a month, there was a need to expedite the legislative process. All ministers supported the proposal.

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