Almost two years after the Mount Meron disaster, a law to regulate Lag Ba'omer holiday celebrations at the site passed its second and third readings in the Knesset Sunday morning.
The law, which passed 7-0 MKs in favor, touches on many of the recommendations of the Mount Meron Disaster Commission.
The number of pilgrims who visit the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai would be limited, according to safety assessments. Pilgrims will require permits and travel tickets to enter the site during the revelry period.
There will also be new areas developed to increase capacity, and temporary tents and structures erected two weeks prior to the celebrations to facilitate the gatherings. This would include temporary staircases and bridges for crowd management.
In line with recommendations of the Meron Committee, one central bonfire will be light at the tomb, with additional bonfires for religious study in front of the town of Meron.
A dedicated chief engineer, ticket master and event organizer will be appointed to oversee the events.
"We drafted a bill, which is intended to allow us to implement a happy and safe celebration, in which as many people as possible can come and participate in the ceremony, while maintaining the safety of all those who come."Meir Porush
Ensuring a happy and safe Lag Ba'omer celebration
"We drafted a bill, which is intended to allow us to implement a happy and safe celebration, in which as many people as possible can come and participate in the ceremony, while maintaining the safety of all those who come," said Jerusalem and Heritage Minister Meir Porush.
Meron celebration project manager Yossi Deitch said that they would be working to increase the celebration site as much as possible, and the bill would allow them to better regulate the festivities.
National Unity MK Matan Kahana congratulated Porush on the passing of the law, saying that he understood that "the new law addresses the required improvements from last year."
Forty-five men and boys were killed in the Meron disaster in a crowd crush. The tragedy was one of the largest civilian mass-casualty events in Israel's history.
The Meron Disaster Families Forum congratulated Porush, and said that Israeli citizens deserved a safe event.
The law "will allow hundreds of thousands of celebrants this year to have a mass festivities where at the end their children will be able to return home safely."
The Meron Memorial Association also thanked Porush for his work, noting that the law passed only 37 days away from the second-anniversary event.