Mount Meron to close if insurance policy not renewed - report

This follows the disastrous crush incident in April, which saw 45 people killed on the Lag Ba'omer holiday.

Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron on April 29, 2021  (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)
Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron on April 29, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

The Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron is set to close its doors starting next Thursday – due to the site no longer being covered by an insurance policy – unless a situation is found beforehand, Israeli media reported.

The announcement was made in a letter sent to Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana by Eli Freund, head of the Committee of Five that manages the site, and first reported by Ynet on Monday.

The committee in charge of the site can no longer take responsibility for what might happen on it after insurance companies refused to renew their policies. This follows the disastrous crush incident in April, which saw 45 people killed on the Lag Ba'omer holiday.

Freund was critical in his letter, calling the situation "absurd" that the committee would lose insurance policies because of what had happened on the holiday, which they say was a day when they weren't in charge of managing the site, according to Ynet.

In the letter, Freund said the closure would go into effect at midnight, Wednesday, December 16, should no solution be found.

Workers are seen removing bleachers on Mount Meron, on July 1, 2021. (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)Workers are seen removing bleachers on Mount Meron, on July 1, 2021. (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

According to Ynet, Kahana is in favor of keeping the site open and has ordered experts to formulate a plan that would help the site be insured, but as of yet, nothing has come of this.

The tomb on Mount Meron is the site of massive religious pilgrimages every year on Lag Ba'omer. Visitors number in the tens of thousands, but the recent Meron crush disaster has left many wary of the site's safety.

A state commission of inquiry has been launched to investigate the disaster.