Vacationers hiking, Yaron Kaminsky
Vacationers hiking in Nahal Kziv in the North yesterday. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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Despite the intense heat, thousands of Israeli hikers and vacationers descended on the parks and forests in the north on the first day of the Sukkot holiday yesterday.

A Jewish National Fund spokesperson said yesterday that the most popular nature destinations were Lake Hula, where visitors could observe the migration of butterflies and birds of prey; the forests in Birya and Bar'am in the upper Galilee; the Adamit and Goren parks in the western Galilee; and the Lavi forest in the lower Galilee.

"All of the guest rooms in the resort are booked solid and vacationers are flooding the area, despite the high temperatures," said Meir Levy, CEO of the Nofey Gonen hotel and resort and chairman of a Galilee tourism forum. "People are heading out to nature and visiting areas near bodies of water, like streams, rivers and reserves."

Ghasan Rabah, the head of the Narkiss Hotel in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, said visitors were arriving throughout the day, taking in the sites and dining on Druze food. This is also the height of the apple-picking season in the village.

Avi Zuckerman, who traveled to the resort village of Merom Golan in order to take a tour on an all-terrain vehicle, said that despite the muggy conditions, the weather in the Golan is pleasant and many vacationers were enjoying the pastoral scenery near the border with Syria.

Ein Gev, the seaside resort that abuts Lake Kinneret, was also a tourist destination, with visitors relaxing on Susita Beach, taking advantage of the last days of swimming season.

Kibbutzim across the country banded together for their "30 initiative," in which 30 communes hosted visitors from all across the country to celebrate the centennial of the Kibbutz Movement. The event continues through the holiday.