People at Lake Kinneret on the first day of Sukkot.
People at Lake Kinneret on the first day of Sukkot, September 19, 2013. Photo by GIl Eliyahu
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Some 400,000 people visited Israel’s forests, nature reserves and national parks on the first day of Sukkot on Thursday, according to the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Pleasant weather is expected for the weekend, with a chance of some light rain.

The JNF said its sites saw a quarter of a million visitors, mainly at Lake Agmon in the Hula Valley and the Ben Shemen Forest in the center of the country, as well as forests in the Judean Mountains. Visitors were surprisingly good about cleaning up and properly disposing of garbage, the JNF said.

The parks authority said 150,000 people visited its sites, with the most popular spots being Caesarea and Apollonia on the Mediterranean coast, Ein Hemed in the Jerusalem Mountains, and the reconstructed Nabatean market at Mamshit in the Negev. Many visitors opted for the parks authority’s water sites, such as the Majrasa, northeast of Lake Kinneret, Tel Dan, Banias and Ein Gedi.

Friday and Saturday will cool off, according to Meteo-Tech meteorological services, after the hot, dry sharav depression hanging over Israel finally moves eastward. Skies will turn cloudy on Saturday and could produce some light rain in the north and possibly the center. A chance of light rain will persist into Sunday, although the temperature will rise.