Gilboa nature reserve.
Some Jewish residents of the community of Nurit, currently under construction in the Gilboa hills, reject having Arab neighbors - even if they are doctrors. Photo by yaron Kaminski
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Nearly half a million Israelis visited nature sites around the country over the Shavuot holiday. About 250,000 made their way to sites operated by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, while another 200,000 visited forests and other locations maintained by the Jewish National Fund.

Some came to attend events specifically related to the holiday, which marks the spring harvest and the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. Most simply came to picnic and enjoy nature, especially in forests in the north and in the Judean Hills.

Shavuot activities at Jewish National Fund sites will continue in the coming days - even though the holiday is over - including a special tour today at the Beit Keshet forest in the north for people with physical disabilities and impaired sight. Due to a forecast for hot weather, the JNF is warning visitors to observe fire safety guidelines.

Among the country's national parks and nature reserves, spots with water proved to be a special draw. Most popular among them were the Banias nature reserve in the Golan Heights, Ein Gedi in the south and Yarkon National Park, where the sources of the Yarkon River are located.

Crowds were also especially large at national parks along the Mediterranean coast, particularly at the Beit Yanai beach, Palmachim beach and Ashkelon National Park. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority will also have special programming in the coming days, including a "Water Day" event at the Majrasa nature reserve on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee.