120,000 enjoy warm weather and long Shavuot weekend at national parks, beaches

Some 120,000 visitors enjoyed Israel’s national parks and beaches on Saturday during the long weekend for the Shavuot holiday.

Nature reserves and parks with water bodies were particularly popular amid the warm temperatures, with Gan Hashlosha park seeing 3,800 visitors, while 2,800 hikers enjoyed the Banias Nature reserve and the Tel Ashkelon park, the Nature and Parks Authority said.

In addition, 2,600 people visited Ein Gedi in the south of the country.

In addition, many visitors went to smaller sites with water-based hikes, such as Ein Haniya, Ein Prat, Ein Hemed, Hamat Tiberias and Ha’Besor.

Elsewhere, some 22,000 people visited the Sea of Galilee, the Kinneret Authority said, with all 15 of the Galilee’s recognized beaches seeing large numbers of visitors.

Two young women, aged 23 and 25, who were visiting the lake were swept into deep water, but were rescued by a lifeguard who managed to paddle out to them and bring them back to shore. The two women were taken to hospital, where they were said to be in mild condition.

Many Israelis are enjoying a long weekend thanks to the Shavuot holiday, which is set to begin Saturday evening and celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites, as told in the Bible. It is also an agricultural festival to celebrate the wheat harvest and ripening of fruits.

During the festival, many celebrants throw water over each other to symbolize the trust Jews put in God to provide them with water now that the rains have stopped until the winter.

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