Israelis Mass at Parks, Nature Reserves as Passover Holiday Begins

Hundreds of thousands flocked to Israel's sites.

Eshkol Park hosted many visitors on Sunday, April 24, 2016.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis visited nature reserves and national parks throughout the country on Sunday, the first of the intermediate days of Passover (hol hamoed).

A few sites had to close their gates briefly to new visitors when their parking lots became full. The greatest crowding was at the Ein Gedi and Einat Zukim nature reserves, and at the Caesarea, Eshkol (Habesor) and Gan Hashlosha (Sahneh) national parks, as well as at the campground of Nahal Alexander-Beit Yannai Beach National Park.

The beaches of Lake Kinneret were also popular, and the entrances to the Tze’elon, Shikmim, Halukim, Kursi and Levanon beaches closed when they filled up.

Raya Shouraki of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority confirmed the high numbers of visitors on Sunday to the sites overseen by the agency, “especially water and beach sites,” she said. She noted that the national parks that were most popular with families were Caesarea, where a horse show took place; Ashkelon, where an exhibit described the city as portrayed in the Jewish sources and Mamshit, “with the famous Nabatean market that brings the smells and sights of an ancient era.”

A 27-year-old man suffered moderate injuries when a tree branch fell on his head during a visit to the Ein Prat Nature Reserve in the West Bank. He was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Part of the nature reserve was closed in the wake of the accident.

A 25-year-old woman was rescued from the Window Waterfall in Nahal David by the Ein Gedi search and rescue unit, with help from park rangers from the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and the Israel Air Force Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit.