Haredi man on Ashdod beach 03/09/10 Alex Levac
On the beach in Ashdod. Male Haredi dress is thought to embody an element of holiness. Photo by Alex Levac
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The Sukkot holiday came to an end yesterday, after a week with particularly hot weather.

Although the number of hikers taking advantage of the vacation was lower than usual because of the heat, Israel's parks and forests saw increased traffic during the Simhat Torah holiday yesterday.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Jewish National Fund reported that about 250,000 people visited parks, nature reserves and forests across the country yesterday.

Due to the hot weather, parks with natural water sources saw a particular burst of traffic.

The spring-fed pools at Gan Hashlosha, known as Sachne, welcomed nearly 4,000 visitors yesterday, as did the Banias nature reserve.

More than 2,000 people visited the Ein Gedi nature reserve, while the Tel Dan reserve in the north had nearly 3,000 visitors.

The hot weather is expected to continue through the weekend, with relief coming only Sunday. Monday is forecast to have normal temperatures for the season.

The JNF said 640,000 people visited its sites during the holiday week, and 80,000 came on Simhat Torah alone.

As in the past, the Hula Valley was popular, particularly due to the migrating birds passing through the area at this time of year. Thousands of pelicans have been passing through the site, and flamingos have been sighted there as well.

Not all visitors picked up after themselves, however. Jewish National Fund officials reported more than 200 tons of garbage had been left in JNF forests, and expressed frustration.

There were also several fires caused by visitors' negligence. At the beginning of week, a fire at Snir Stream caused major damage.

The INPA also reported yesterday that one of its employees was injured in the Sharon Park while chasing all-terrain vehicles there illegally.