Photo Credit: David Cohen / Flash 90
Police place bomb shelters outside Mount Meron, northern Israel, May 20, 2024.

Mount Meron, site of the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, has been declared a closed military zone effective 11 pm Tuesday night through Monday, May 27 at 12 noon.

Instead of the tens of thousands of Jews who flock to the Tomb to celebrate Lag B’Omer, which begins this Saturday night, there will be three small bonfires attended by minimal groups of Hasidim at the site over the holiday.


The move follows recent ongoing missile and drone attacks by Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, aimed at the IDF air traffic control base atop Mount Meron, located about five miles (eight kilometers) from the Lebanese border.

IDF Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, chief of Home Front Command, signed the order to close the area in coordination with security personnel and authorities at the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry.

A statement from Home Front Command stressed that “entering the Meron area is strictly prohibited” until next Monday.

As an alternative, Jews were being encouraged to visit the Tomb of Rabbi Akiva, located in Tiberias — but that option has also now been eliminated.

Tiberias Mayor Yossi Naba’a announced that Rabbi Akiva’s tomb and access roads to the area will be closed for the entire weekend due to fears that thousands of Jews visiting the site would provide the Hezbollah terrorist army in Lebanon with another juicy target.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.