The theft of lumber from construction sites in the run-up to Lag Ba’omer, a holiday celebrated around bonfires, costs the construction industry about NIS 20 million, the Association of Contractors and Builders estimated Tuesday.
Lag Ba’omer eve, which falls on Sunday this year, is a Jewish holiday that marks the celebration of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage. In modern times, it was reinterpreted as a commemoration of the 2nd Century Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated by lighting bonfires mainly by children.
The estimate of the loss is based on an assumption that about NIS 15,000 in lumber is stolen on average from the country’s 1,500 construction sites. The association says theft of lumber is just one component of the losses, which also includes damage to perimeter fencing at construction sites by people coming onto the sites to take wood.