The police arrested some 300 Ultra-Orthodox Jews on Tuesday who stormed Mount Meron to celebrate Lag Ba’Omer at the site, although it was closed by the police.
The holiday of Lag Ba’Omer is usually marked with the lighting of bonfires and a mass celebration at the gravesite of the ancient Talmudic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron.
Fearing that mass celebrations will reignite a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government banned all such gatherings.
Meron, which is usually the gathering site of hundreds of thousands of Israelis on Lag Ba’Omer, was shut down except for a few hundred who lit symbolic bonfires.
However, hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, including children, arrived at the site in breach of the ban.
At some point, violent rioting began, including the throwing of rocks and other objects at the police, as well as forceful resistance to the police’s instructions to leave the scene.
In response, additional police forces were alerted to the scene, removed the crowd and made arrests. Many of them were charged with assaulting police officers.
Several of the rioters were treated by medical teams for mild injuries.
The police “views with severity the behavior of the lawbreakers who chose to attack the police officers who enforce the law and maintain the public’s wellbeing and health, blatantly and without any restraint. The police will act resolutely against any assault or violence of any kind directed at the police.”
The police have launched an investigation into how the buses carrying the crowds made it to the site, which was ostensibly under police lockdown.